Opera Software to develop remaining business rather than sell: CEO

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's Opera Software OPERA.OL remains focused on developing its remaining business units rather than selling more, its chief executive said following the divestment of its TV business on Tuesday.

“Now we have to focus on developing the four companies we have left, that is the only strategy we have,” Lars Boilesen told Reuters after selling the TV unit to tech-focused investment firm Moore Freres.

However he would not rule out the possibility of further divestment “if a good offer is to surface, but the focus right now is to develop companies and create value”.

“Synergies between the four companies are limited,” he said.

In charge since 2010, Boilesen initially expanded Opera’s business through a string of acquisitions before putting the whole company up for sale in mid-2015.

In the end only parts of the firm, the core internet browser business and related units, were sold to a Chinese consortium.

The company said on Tuesday it expected to use proceeds from the sale of the TV unit on extraordinary dividends. Opera received $80 million cash and preferred shares equivalent to 30 percent of Opera TV’s common equity.

In addition to announcing the sale of the majority stake in its TV business to Moore Freres, the Norwegian software firm separately warned of weaker earnings in its mobile advertising unit.

Boilesen expected the market for mobile advertising to remain tough into the first quarter of next year and said it might take five to six months to see an improvement.

Opera needs to address costs and streamline this part of its business, the biggest of its four remaining units, he said.

Opera’s other units are Skyfire, an online cloud-based service for operators of mobile phone networks, Bemobi for Apps and Games, and virtual private network division SurfEasy.

Opera shares fell 6.9 percent to 40.3 crowns while Oslo Bourse benchmark index.OSEBX was down 0.2 percent at GMT 0935.

Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord, writing by Stine Jacobsen, editing by Alister Doyle and Louise Heavens