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Red-stained Opera wants someone to hug it and whisper: 'No more pain, no more tears'

Norweigan company ponders future as the numbers go south

Opera Software has announced a 45 per cent revenue boost for its second quarter of financial year 2015 while hinting at a possible buyout, but didn't draw much attention to its $3m losses.

Chairman Sverre Munck said on Wednesday that “the board has seen an interest in different alliances and cooperations with Opera over the last months.”

Last week the web browser maker said it would launch “a strategic review of the firm's future,” leading to much speculation about a merger or acquisition.

“There has been a bit higher intensity during the last month,” Munck said. “Based on this exploratory and recent interest, the board decided to conduct a strategic review because that would allow us to explore a wider range of options rather than not take all options into account.”

Although revenue in the second quarter of financial year 2015 was up on the previous year and well in line with predictions, the $146.2m is towards the lower end of projections. Opera said this is due to “softness in the non-Instant play video advertising” part of the business.

Like many other technology firms reporting results in this quarter, it also blamed shifting forex rates for knocking revenues down from a projected $156m.

Despite its year-on-year increase in revenues, Opera managed to post a net loss of $3.6m – which contrasted sharply with its $6.9m profit for the same quarter last year. Losses for the first half of financial year 2015 came in at $22m, a huge dip from the same period in 2014, which saw the company post a healthy $10m profit.

The firm's operating expenses bulged by 59 per cent, up to $131.1m from $82.6m in Q2 of financial year 2014. “Higher marketing and hosting costs” were partly liable.

Overall, mobile advertising was up 83 per cent on 2014 to $92.9m and audience reach via third-party publishers exceeded 1 billion consumers. Of that, mobile video advertising revenues made up more than half – 58 per cent – a huge leap from just 9 per cent in 2Q14.

Opera's Android monthly browser users reached 139m at the end of this quarter, up 30 per cent from the end of Q2 for financial year 2014, while the total of Opera mobile consumer browser users reached 291m at the end of the present quarter, up 8 per cent year on year. Desktop users reached 53m by the end of Q2 financial year 2015, down 3 per cent on 2014.

Also of note in the second quarter of this year was Opera's deal with Google. The Norwegian browser maker updated its three-year-old agreement with the Chocolate Factory in June in a deal that will see Google remain the default search partner for Opera mobile and desktop browsers at least until the end of 2017. ®

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