Update: SEGA’s $775 million USD (approximately $1.2 billion AUD) deal to acquire Rovio, the Finnish mobile company behind Angry Birds, has officially been finalised. The company shared the news via some shiny new art commemorating the acquisition and welcoming Rovio into the SEGA family:
Previous Update: SEGA has announced that it’s secured a deal to acquire Finnish mobile company and Angry Birds creator, Rovio, for $775 million USD (approx $1.15 billion AUD).
The company has flagged an interest in expanding its growth in the global gaming market and tapping into the IP but also the talent and experience in Rovio’s 500+ strong employee base to bolster that growth.
“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 Group 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. Historically, as represented by the “Sonic the Hedgehog” series, SEGA has released countless video game titles to various gaming platforms. I am confident that, through combination of both companies’ brands, characters, fanbase, as well as corporate culture and functionality, there will be significant synergies created going forward.”
According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, SEGA Sammy Holdings Inc – the holding company for SEGA and pachinko machine-maker Sammy – is nearing a deal to acquire Rovio Entertainment, the makers of the mobile game phenomenon Angry Birds.
The deal would see SEGA Sammy control the rights to Angry Birds, which has definitely fallen from its mighty perch but still continues to be relevant through sequels, spin-off games, a merch empire, television series’ and even a couple of Hollywood films. While neither company has spoken about the terms of the supposedly $1 billion USD buyout or what the future would hold for Angry Birds if it’s finalised, Reuters reports that Rovio has recently confirmed that the talks are taking place:
“As part of its strategic review, Rovio Entertainment Corporation confirms that it is in discussions with Sega Sammy Holdings Inc,” it said. “Rovio and Sega will release further information at an appropriate time.”
Rovio, which has continued to bank its successes on the Angry Birds franchise but so far failed to capture the cultural cut-through that saw the original reach a billion downloads in its first three years of release – with the series topping 5 billion downloads in total this time last year. It was said to have received an acquisition bid from another company, Playtika Holding Corp, in January which would have been worth €683 million but fell through.
It comes as the landscape of mobile gaming is shifting somewhat, with the idea of one-off purchase and play games like Angry Birds an almost-archaic idea, overall consumer spending on mobile games falling globally, and companies like Apple, Google and even Netflix all offering subscription models that give users access to instant libraries of mobile games free of ads or in-game monetisation mechanics.
The outcome of the deal is expected to be finalised imminently, so we should have more to report soon.