Opera Looking to Go Public

Norwegian brower maker Opera Software is planning an initial stock offering on the Oslo exchange.

“After developing and refining the technology and commercial side for nine years, Opera Software is now ready for public listing,” Jon S. von Tetzchner, Opera’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Among computer-savvy users, Opera’s browser is a popular alternative to Microsoft’s market-leading Internet Explorer. In addition to its “tabbing” feature that helps accomodate more than one browser, it’s also considered faster by users.

The company offers a free version of the Opera browser too; however, users trade off the no-cost acquisition by agreeing to accept banner ads near the address bar. Users can purchase an ad-free version for $40.

Apparently that option is increasingly popular. Opera the company reported revenues of 78.5 million Norwegian kroner (US $11.4 million) for calendar year 2003, up 53.8 percent from the 51.1 million kroner (US $7.4 million) earned in 2002.

Opera is also perceived as agressively moving to embrace the mobile space. The company recently said it would add support for the Wireless Access Protocol to its browser in a bid to build support among wireless users.

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