Sega Sammy Holdings is buying Angry Birds’ creator Rovio.
The Japanese giant, the developer of Sonic the Hedgehog games, will acquire the Finnish mobile game company for €706 million ($778 million) in a “friendly takeover,” the two announced today (Apr. 17).
The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of fiscal year 2024, subject to scrutiny under antitrust laws and other customary conditions.
Why Sega acquired Rovio, according to Sega
🧠 To use Rovio’s “distinctive know-how” in live service mobile game operation to bring Sega’s titles to the fast-growing global mobile gaming market.
🌐 To leverage Rovio’s platform, Beacon, which holds 20 years of high-level expertise in live service-mobile game operation centered around the US and Europe.
📺 To rapidly expand both companies’ fanbase by sharing know-how regarding the multimedia expansion of global characters. Rovio and Sega have both succeeded in extending their respective IPs, “Angry Birds” and “Sonic the Hedgehog”, to various media outside of video games, such as movies, anime, and merchandising.
🎮 Sega will provide cross-platform expansion support for Rovio to move beyond mobile gaming.
Quotable: Grow Sega and Rovio’s Iconic characters
“I grew up playing Sonic the Hedgehog, captivated by its state-of-the-art design. Later, when I played Angry Birds for the first time, I knew that gaming had evolved into a true mainstream phenomenon, with the power to shape modern culture…Red and Sonic the Hedgehog: two globally recognized and iconic characters made by two remarkably complementary companies, with a worldwide reach that spans mobile, PC/console, and beyond. Combining the strengths of Rovio and SEGA presents an incredibly exciting future.”—Alexandre Pelletier-Normand, CEO of Rovio
The Sega Rovio deal, by the digits
18.8%: How much Rovio’s shares surged on the news of Sega’s acquisition
1 billion downloads: The original Angry Birds game was the first mobile game to reach this benchmark, as per Guinness World Records
5 billion: Downloads for Rovio’s combined library of games as of last year
83%: Share of Rovio’s revenues that come from the original Angry Birds game
7: Rank of 2016’s The Angry Birds Movie in the list of highest-grossing video game film adaptations. (Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is number 5.) The second Angry Birds movie in 2019 disappointed.
$1 billion: Rovio’s underwhelming valuation when it went public in 2017
550: Rovio employees, spread across its eight game studios around the world
$263.3 billion: Projected size of the gaming market by 2026
56%: Mobile gaming as share of overall gaming market
Company of interest: Playtika
Before Sega came onto the scene, Israeli player Playtika made a preliminary $736 million bid to buy Rovio, but those talks fell through last month.
Not so fun fact: Angry Birds is no more
The original Angry Birds game, which was released in 2009 and became a smash hit instantaneously, was booted off the Google Play Store and renamed to Red’s First Flight on the Apple Store this February.
The developer made the decision to delist and rename the popular game because of the “wider impact” it was having on the rest of the portfolio. People kept buying the buy-once-play-forver game for a dollar, and not its successors like Angry Birds 2, Angry Birds Friends, and Angry Birds journey. These newer Angry Birds games are also free to download but they’re splintered with microtransactions inside the gameplay, providing more streams of making money.
💸 The money in Angry Birds is no longer in “Angry Birds”
✏️ Sega’s video-game artists had to draw pixels by hand on crazy, custom machines in the 1980s and 90s