Opera Software is buying mobile video optimization and cloud solutions provider Skyfire Labs for about $155 million in cash and stock, the Oslo-based company announced today. The news comes a few days after Opera revealed that it plans to transition its Web browsers to WebKit to increase competitiveness on Android and iOS. Skyfire will remain open as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera and will continue to develop and support the Skyfire browser.
The press release by Opera said that the two companies “envision a powerful new set of joint products to be released over the coming year,” with a particular focus on Opera’s WebPass, which gives consumers the option of buying data plans such as an unlimited “day pass” for popular apps and Web sites at prices made affordable by video and data optimization. Opera believes that the product “can enable new business models for operators, such as toll free data, ad-supported data, and more.”
“The market opportunity for video/media optimization solutions geared towards operators and consumers is significant. After a thorough evaluation of this market, we strongly believe Skyfire is the clear leader for the future in this space”, said Erik Harrell, CFO/CSO of Opera, in the statement.
Skyfire is known as the maker of Rocket Optimizer software, which allows mobile operators to leverage cloud computing and optimize video and multimedia on cell towers, including 3G and 4G LTE networks. The company says that Rocket Optimizer on average gives mobile networks a 60 percent boost in capacity by reducing the size of video and other multimedia to fit available bandwith, and detecting when specific users have connections that need assistance.
“Skyfire adds capabilities to our portfolio around video, app optimization, smartphones and tablets, and strength in North America. With video expected to consume over two-thirds of global mobile bandwidth by 2015, and as time spent on Android and iOS apps explodes, we are excited to extend Opera’s solutions for operators,” said Opera CEO Lars Boilesen in the release.
The deal is expected to close on March 15. Afterward, Jeffrey Glueck, CEO of Skyfire, will assume the role of EVP of the Operator Business for Opera, as well as CEO of Skyfire.