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Opera to cost Facebook north of a billion dollars, analysts say

After buying Instagram for a billion dollars, Zuckerberg now has plans for acquiring Opera Software, according to recent reports.

The reason Facebook might be interested in acquiring Opera is the increased mobile traffic to the social network, which the company is unable to fully take advantage of. Buying Opera might be a huge step in solving this problem, according to analysts, and if Zuckerbeg wants to make this happen, he might have to fork out north of a billion dollars.

Because of various rumors on the matter, Google and other competition have also claimed interest in the Oslo-based company. This led to a 26 percent jump in Opera’s shares today, making the company worth a bit over $1 billion.

Norwegian bank DNB has valuated Opera at $1.35 billion or $11.4 a share. Danske Bank and ABG Sundal Collier on the other hand both predict a price of $8.3 – $9.9 per share making for a total asking price of $1 billlion – $1.2 billion.

The Opera desktop browser might not be the most popular, but Opera Mini and Opera Mobile both boast a huge user base of about 200 million users. Opera has officially declined to comment on the speculations. Furthermore, Opera founder Jon S Von Tetzschner doesn’t seem to be very fond of the idea.

I want Opera to focus on growth and delivering good results; there are big opportunities for Opera,” Tetzchner, who holds 10.9 percent of Opera told Reuters. “We have been promised 500 million users by 2013 and I think that’s a good goal and the firm should keep going for it. I personally think that an ARPU (average revenue per user) goal of $1 is even modest,” he said. “I am not pushing for a takeover.

What do you think? Will Facebook go for it and offer Opera a colossal amount of hard cash to make shareholders sell?

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