Summit News

Opera CEO says hopes firm stays independent

PARIS (Reuters) - Opera Software ASA chief executive Jon von Tetzchner hopes the Norwegian firm, known for its mobile browser, will stay independent despite major industry players increasing focus on the sector.

“We are stronger than ever. Some of the strength that we have is the fact that we are independent. We will work with everyone,” Jon von Tetzchner said at the Reuters Global Technology summit in Paris.

Focus of the wireless industry has shifted to software development and Internet access after Apple and Google entered the industry -- leading to analysts speculating that Opera was a potential takeover target.

When asked whether he sees Opera as an independent company in five years’ time, he said: “Hopefully. If we would be bought by someone it would probably very much limit our ability to play the role that we play.”

Von Tetzchner, a co-founder of the firm, is one of the largest owners of Opera, controlling a 14.2 percent stake.

“Do I have capability to block things if I want to? I do have a sizeable chunk of the company, but on the other hand I have the obligation toward the investors -- I would be in big trouble I would be actively blocking the acquisition of the company.”

“I have to play fair ... Any such things would be handled in a best possible way,” von Tetzchner said.

He said there were possible acquisition targets for Opera.

“We have a position where we could do things, we are cash-flow positive, we have a fair amount of money in the bank.”

“Financial situation is such that it’s maybe not the worst time to invest, but we will only do it if it’s a perfect match -- meaning technology, people, everything,” von Tetzchner said.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Hans Peters