Sega will acquire Angry Birds developer Rovio for a sum of EUR €706 million, roughly US $775 million, the company has confirmed in a statement. The acquisition has been described as a ‘friendly takeover,’ with the Rovio board of directors expressing support towards the offer.
Sega describes the purpose of the acquisition as a means to accelerate the company’s growth in the global gaming market by leveraging Rovio’s strengths, ‘including its global IPs and live-operated mobile game development capabilities.’
The statement speaks of Rovio’s strengths in mobile games and the uses of its properties in spaces outside of video games – specifically citing the Angry Birds film and merchandising line.
Similarly, it is stated that Rovio itself has ambitions to expand outside of mobile gaming, and Sega will actively support this process.
‘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 Haruki Satomi, President and CEO of Sega Sammy Holdings.
‘I feel blessed to be able to announce such a transaction with Rovio, a company that owns Angry Birds, which is loved across the world, and home to many skilled employees that support the company’s industry leading mobile game development and operating capabilities.’
The original story follows below.
Rovio Entertainment, the game development studio known for helming the Angry Birds franchise, is reportedly on the cusp of being acquired by Sega for the sum of US $1 billion. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, and later confirmed by Rovio itself, in an official statement to multiple media outlets.
‘As part of its strategic review, Rovio Entertainment Corporation confirms that it is in discussions with Sega Sammy Holdings Inc,’ the company said, per Reuters. ‘Rovio and Sega will release further information at an appropriate time.’
Rovio reportedly declined to comment on specifics – such as the alleged US $1 billion acquisition agreement – but we’re unlikely to wait long for an update. According to the initial WSJ report, Sega expects to ‘seal the deal’ in April 2023 ‘assuming the talks don’t break down or drag out.’
At this stage, it’s unknown how long Sega and Rovio have been in talks, but the seemingly short turnaround time between public knowledge and assumed closure suggests an acquisition has been discussed for several months, at least. Entertainment company Playtika publicly announced an end to its own talks to acquire Rovio in March 2023, which could imply the Sega deal was in place alongside, or prior to, these discussions.
Should this deal go ahead, Sega would reportedly acquire Rovio in its entirety – including the rights to the Angry Birds franchise. While the popularity of the series has cooled off since its peak in the early 2010s, it still enjoys a powerful longevity thanks to various spin-off games, sequels, and adaptations, including a kid-friendly movie franchise.
Sega likely sees the value in the brand’s endurance, and its future potential.
At this stage, next steps remain hidden behind closed doors as Sega and Rovio continue to discuss a future acquisition, and how it could benefit both parties.
Given Rovio recently discussed strategic moves to improve the brand and its ability to grow – namely, via the highly controversial decision to delist the original version of Angry Birds on some platforms – the acquisition talks are not surprising. That said, the interest of Sega and the proposed US $1 billion price tag certainly raises eyebrows. We’ll likely learn more about progress on the Rovio and Sega talks in the coming weeks.