Opera Limited announced that it has sold its 19.35% ownership interest in Star Group Interactive Inc. (“Star X”, formerly known as “StarMaker”), to Kunlun Tech Limited (“Kunlun”), its parent company, for $83.5 million in cash. The transaction closed on the same date. Within ten business days, an initial $28.4 million will be paid, with the remaining consideration to be paid in two equal installments by December 31st of 2023 and 2024 with no contingencies. Opera will collect 3.5% simple annual interest on the deferred installments.
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Star X is a fast-growing technology-driven social media company focused on audio-centric social networking, which is popular in emerging markets like Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Opera acquired the investment in 2018 for a total consideration of $30 million. The sale represents a 178% cash-on-cash return on Opera’s investment, and an increase of $26.4 million relative to the unaudited fair value previously included in Opera’s quarterly reporting. The Kunlun group was already the controlling shareholder of Star X prior to this transaction. After receiving an indication of interest from Kunlun, Opera engaged an independent financial advisor to cultivate alternative offers, and ultimately perform a valuation analysis on behalf of Opera’s Board of Directors and its audit committee that concluded that the transaction would be within the fair valuation range, from a financial point of view.
“We are very pleased to realize a significant return on our investment for all of our shareholders,” said Opera co-CEO Song Lin. “With the sale of Nanobank in March, and this recently-completed sale of Star X, we are able to further strengthen our balance sheet and redouble our focus on the exciting opportunities ahead for our core business.”
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