Reuters is reporting that Opera Software ASA — the Norwegian company best known for its web browser — is rebranding to Otello Corporation. The company says it intends to change its stock ticker on the Oslo Bourse, although it’s yet to come up with a new symbol.
This move is likely because Opera Software ASA — sorry, Otello Corporation — wants to distinguish itself from its browser business, which it sold to group of Chinese investors in 2016.
In July 2016, Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund (which includes Qihoo 360, a major Chinese antivirus and browser developer) bought Opera’s consumer side (known as Opera Software AS — confusing, I know) for $600 million. The deal closed November that year.
By changing its name to Otello Corporation, Opera Software ASA is able to break from its past, while making a wry nod to it. Otello happens to be the name of an opera by Verdi, based on Shakespeare’s Othello.
Speaking to TNW, Opera Software ASA CEO Lars Boilesen explained that the name change was a legal requirement. In addition to the Opera desktop and mobile browsers, the Chinese consortium also purchased the rights to the Opera brand.
“The reason Opera Software ASA is changing its name is as part of the sale of the browser business to the Chinese consortium, the consortium also purchased the brand ‘Opera,'” he said. “As a result, Opera Software ASA agreed to change its name after a transition period.”
Boilesen added that the Opera browser is “doing well,” and will continue to be called Opera.
“As a strategic adviser to the Chinese Consortium, I can assure you that the Opera browser is doing well and it continues to grow number of users and increases its market share.”
Over email, Alejandro Viquez, Communications Manager at Opera Software AS, clarified that the name change refers only to the parts of Opera that weren’t purchased by the Chinese consortium.
“The company known as Opera Software ASA, which owns the advertisement company Adcolony and the mobile app company Bemobi, has today announced to change its name to Otello Corporation. However, Opera Software AS, the company that makes the popular Opera and Opera mini browsers, is still called Opera Software AS and remain a privately held company head quartered in Oslo, Norway,” he said.
UPDATE: This post has been updated with comment from Opera Software ASA and Opera Software AS, and to clarify which parts of the business are being renamed.