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The Popular “Angry Birds” Maker Being Acquired By Sega

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The Popular “Angry Birds” Maker Being Acquired By Sega

On Monday, Sega, a major Japanese gaming company, declared that it has put forward a proposal of €706 million (equivalent to $776 million) to acquire Rovio Entertainment Oyj, the creator of the puzzle game Angry Birds, based in Finland. The proposed deal involves buying all of Rovio’s outstanding shares and options, with the stocks being priced at €9.25 per share, a premium of approximately 19% over their closing price before the announcement. Sega is pricing the options at €1.48. Rovio’s board has expressed its approval of the offer, according to the company.

On Monday, a statement revealed that Rovio’s games have been downloaded more than 5 billion times. Additionally, its Angry Birds franchise has been licensed for use in other consumer and entertainment products.

Sega, based in Tokyo and founded in 1960, is most well-known for its Sonic the Hedgehog and Total War franchises, as well as consoles such as the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, which were popular outside Japan during the 1990s. The company aims to expand its presence in the mobile gaming industry by acquiring Rovio, and plans to use Rovio’s live-operated mobile game development expertise to create mobile versions of its current games.

According to a previous report by The Wall Street Journal, the value of the Rovio deal was expected to be approximately $1 billion.

At 11:00 a.m. London time (April 17, 2023), Rovio’s shares had increased by 17.8%.

Before the acquisition was announced, shares in Sega Sammy, the holding company of Sega following its 2004 merger with games maker Sammy, closed 4.2% lower on Monday.

In a statement, Haruki Satomi, Sega Sammy’s Group CEO, stated that the mobile gaming market had enormous potential for growth and that expanding the company’s presence in this field had been a long-term goal. He added that the combination of both companies’ brands, characters, fanbase, as well as corporate culture and functionality, would create significant synergies.

Alexandre Pelletier-Normand, Rovio’s CEO, said that Angry Birds’ lead character Red and Sonic the Hedgehog were both globally recognized and iconic characters created by two complementary companies, with a worldwide presence that extended beyond mobile and PC/console platforms.

Angry Birds
Angry Birds

Source: CNBC

Rovio the Angry Birds company

Rovio was founded in 2003 and became a significant success story in the European tech industry. It produced numerous games before the advent of Android and iOS, but it was the arrival of smartphones that made Angry Birds a global sensation, with a franchise that expanded into toys, cookbooks, movies, and a TV show. Rovio went public in 2017, with a valuation of $1 billion, but its shares have mostly declined since then.

Sega plans to use Rovio’s expertise in “live service” mobile gaming to accelerate the development of its own games and generate synergies between its brand and Rovio’s. Sega also wants to expand its current and new games in Europe and North America with Rovio’s assistance. Meanwhile, Rovio’s experience in mobile gaming will help Sega to enhance its mobile gaming presence, while Sega will help Rovio expand beyond mobile gaming, potentially to consoles and web browsers.

In a press release, Haruki Satomi, president and group CEO of Sega’s parent company Sega Sammy Holdings, expressed his confidence in the creation of significant synergies through the combination of both companies’ brands, characters, fanbase, as well as corporate culture and functionality, and emphasized Sega’s long-term goal to accelerate its expansion in the rapidly growing global gaming market, particularly in the mobile gaming market.

Source: TechCrunch

BBC on Angry Birtds Transaction

According to Edward James, an analyst at Berenberg, Rovio’s ownership of the highly successful Angry Birds brand makes it an attractive acquisition for Sega. Additionally, Sega is interested in Rovio’s Beacon mobile gaming platform, which has deep data and knowledge about long-lasting titles, and is valuable to Sega as it is difficult to build such knowledge from scratch. Although Rovio’s revenue increased from €272.3m in 2020 to €317.7m in 2022, its operating profits fell from €42.5m to €28.6m over the same period.

Following the announcement of the deal, Rovio’s shares rose by over 18%. Sega Sammy is a holding company formed in 2004 by the merger of Sega and Sammy Corporation. Sega is known for producing multi-million-selling video game franchises such as Sonic the Hedgehog, which has been featured in two movies, while Sammy develops and sells amusement arcade machines.

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