Norwegian consumer internet brand, Opera, has increased its stake in Africa-focused neo-bank OPay from 6.4% to 9.5% following the conclusion of the 2022 sale of Nanobank for $127 million.
Opera had previously held a 42% stake in Nanobank, which was created by combining Opera's microlending business with Mobimagic's point-of-sale business.
Opera sold its stake in Nanobank for $127.1 million in cash spread over eight quarterly instalments in 2022, but the company and the third-party buyer settled Opera's receivable from the sale of Nanobank for OPay shares instead of quarterly cash payments that would have been paid through Q2 2026.
By choosing OPay shares instead of cash, Opera settled for $35.9 million less than the book value of its investment in Nanobank, leaving the internet brand with a net fair value of $76.3 million as of year-end 2022.
Opera marked its OPay ownership as "held for sale," noting that "OPay continued its strong growth trajectory through 2022, giving us comfort in the ultimate marketability of our increased ownership stake."
OPay was founded in 2018 by Opera Norway AS Group, which is owned by Shenzhen-listed Kunlun Tech Co., Ltd. Opera's decision to increase its stake in OPay may be surprising given that the firm raised $570 million in funding rounds, which may have significantly diluted Opera's stake.
However, the firm was last valued at $2 billion, and Opera expects the ultimate marketability of its increased ownership stake to be strong due to OPay's continued growth trajectory. Further terms of the equity swap were not disclosed, so it is not possible to determine at what valuation the transaction was priced.