SEGA nears the acquisition of Rovio Entertainment. The developer of the smartphone game “Angry Bird” is to receive 1 billion dollars.
The Japanese conglomerate Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. is planning to buy the game developer Rovio Entertainment – for a price of 1 billion US dollars, reports the American business newspaper The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. The Finnish development studio Rovio Entertainment is known for the smartphone game “Angry Birds”, which was released in 2009 and claims to have been the first mobile game with a billion downloads.
Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, so smartphone technology was still in its infancy back then. Nevertheless, “Angry Birds” used the potential of the touchscreen: With a swipe, players operate a slingshot loaded with birds to shoot piglets. The app was not only popular with gamers: at that time, the American and British secret services NSA and GCHQ are said to have used the app to intercept user data.
Rovio Entertainment is looking for buyers
Rovio Entertainment could not repeat the success of the game series – several rounds of downsizing followed. In order to keep the business growing and to pay off debts, the company went public in 2017 with a market value of almost 900 million euros. But the first quarterly figures were already disappointing.
At the beginning of this year, the Israeli mobile games maker Playtika wanted to buy the Finnish company for 800 million dollars – the deal fell through in March. Now Sega is offering $1 billion for Rovio Entertainment. By comparison, Sony bought Bungie, the game studio behind Destiny and Halo, for $3.6 billion last year. Despite its financial hardship, Angry Birds’ success is sure to inspire game developers for years to come – especially those grappling with the early stages of VR headset development.