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Norwegian browser maker Opera Software today announced it will acquire mobile ad exchange AdMarvel for what TechCrunch is reporting to be $8 million in cash plus a $15 million earnout.

As an ad exchange, AdMarvel has transparency across many ad networks and platforms. This is a technology that can provide Opera with analytics that aide in optimizing mobile ad placements. This will help Opera diversify by going deeper into mobile advertising at a time when demand is growing.

The diversification move also comes appropriately at a time when Opera’s core business is being challenged. It’s the most used mobile Web browser globally with 50 million monthly users. But smartphone Web browsers on the iPhone, Android and other platforms are growing rapidly.

2010 is going to be open season for acquisitions in the mobile space. We’re seeing it already: Apple’s acquisition of Quattro opened up the year, and followed closely behind Google’s landmark acquisition of mobile ad network Admob.

The AdMarvel deal today follows this, though it’s a decidedly smaller deal with different drivers. Still, these deals are generally all working toward the same end of having better tools to monetize growing mobile usage and advertising demand. We’ll see many more (see our 2010 predictions).

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