Sega Offers £625m For Studio Behind ‘Angry Birds’

angry birds game rovio

Sonic the Hedgehog maker Sega offers 706m euros for Rovio, studio behind pioneering mobile game Angry Birds

Japanese game maker Sega Sammy has offered to buy Rovio, the Finnish firm behind pioneering mobile game Angry Birds.

The offer, which has been unanimously recommended by Rovio’s board, values the Finnish firm at about 706 million euros (£625m).

The offer is backed by 49 percent of Rovio’s shareholders, including its founding Hed family.

Rovio’s shares rose up to 19 percent in early trading in Helsinki on Monday.

sega genesis game
The original 1980s-era Sega Genesis console. Image credit: Sega

Deal speculation

The company’s shares have soared nearly 50 percent this year amidst speculation of a deal, with a major surge in late January after an offer by Israel’s Playtika Holding became public.

Angry Birds, released soon after the iPhone’s launch in 2009, was the first mobile game to reach 1 billion downloads and forms the cornerstone of Rovio’s business, which last year reached five billion downloads.

The firm has produced two films based on the game, as well as a Netflix series.

But the company, which went public in 2017, has never produced another hit on the scale of its biggest success, making it a potential buyout target.

Sega said the deal was aimed at strengthening its position in mobile gaming, which it said was expected to make up 56 percent of the growing global gaming market, projected to reach $263.3bn (£212bn) overall by 2026.

angry birds game rovio
Image credit: Rovio

Sonic the Hedgehog

“Among the rapidly growing global gaming market, the mobile gaming market has especially high potential, and it has been Sega’s long-term goal to accelerate its expansion in this field,” said Sega Sammy chief executive Haruki Satomi.

Sega is one of Japan’s best-known gaming companies, with titles including Sonic the Hedgehog, Crazy Taxi and Yakuza. Like Rovio, the company has produced two Sonic-themed films.

From the 1980s up to the 2000s Sega also made popular video game consoles, and recently returned with the Sega Genesis Mini that plays 16-bit games made for the original 1980s-era Genesis, known as the Mega Drive outside North America.

It merged with Sammy Corporation, which makes amusement arcade machines, in 2004.