Last Friday, the Oslo stock exchange decided to halt trading in Opera Software’s shares after rumors of a potential takeover by Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 appeared in a Norwegian newspaper. Trading in Opera shares is still suspended today (which is a pretty unusual move) and now Opera itself is adding fire to the takeover rumors by postponing its planned earnings call from tomorrow morning to Wednesday morning.
Opera’s earnings call is now scheduled for Wednesday morning at 7:30am CET. There is a high chance the company will use this call to announce its acquirer.
Opera itself has been very open about the fact that it is for sale. The company hired Morgan Stanley International and ABG Sundal Collier to help it find a buyer.
Who this buyer is, though, remains a bit of a mystery. Qihoo 360 is definitely an option. We have also heard some rumors that AOL (the parent company of TechCrunch) may be interested in acquiring the company.
While most of us probably think of Opera as a browser vendor, the company also has a presence in the online advertising business and it has lately moved into app install ads and other areas. The could make it a potential target for AOL.
Opera, however, also recently acquired the VPN service SurfEasy. This may have made it a more interesting target for Qihoo, which offers a range of security products — and also a browser. Qihoo monetizes its apps through advertising, so a matchup between the two also make sense. Opera says it products currently reach one billion users.
We have asked Opera for comment and will update this post once we hear more.