Sega, the legendary games company behind Sonic The Hedgehog and countless other hits, has agreed, this morning to buy Rovio - home to the Angry Birds mobile game and movie franchise for a total price of 706 milion euros ($775 million).
After a weekend of cast-iron rumour that all but confirmed the deal, the details are now official (at a price slightly short of the $1bn rumoured earlier).
The deal involves Sega purchasing the entirety of Rovio’s outstanding shares and options at 9.25 euros per share and 1.48 euros per option with Sega’s larger parent company Sega Sammy Holdings footing the bill. The deal is described as a friendly takeover with the full backing of Rovio’s board of directors and is expected to be complete in the second quarter of the 2024 financial year (September 2023).
Details of the deal clearly spell out Rovio’s appeal to Sega, with the gaming giant stating that they “firmly believe that it is imperative to continue investing in game development and operating capabilities” and that Rovio’s acquisition will “further strengthen our position in the fast-growing mobile and global gaming market.”
There's even mention of a "growth strategy to invest up to ¥250 billion during the five-year period ending FY2026/3" with Sega "exploring investment opportunities in the consumer area to strengthen its development capabilities as well as to create new ecosystems." So the Sega spending spree may not be over yet.
It's all about mobile
The statement goes on: “Through the acquisition, the company aims to take-in Rovio’s live-operated mobile game development capabilities and expertise in mobile game operation, to accelerate the development of mobile-compatible and multi-platform-supported version of Sega’s existing game IPs, thereby strengthening and further accelerating global expansion of Sega’s game portfolio.”
It really couldn’t be plainer that in acquiring Rovio, Sega just took ownership of Rovio's mobile gaming platform, Beacon and a world class live-ops operation with the skill and capacity to turn any of Sega’s properties - be they classic, existing or in development - into a hit mobile game.
And they make a mean plushy too…
And then there’s the small matter of the Angry Birds franchise. While it hasn’t escaped mobile games industry watchers that Rovio have rather failed to branch out beyond it’s bird-flinging smash hits and sequels (including two mainstream hollywood movies) Angry Birds is still officially massive. Red’s First Flight - a remake of the very first Angry Birds game - is still top 10 in the ‘paid for’ charts right now.
With Sega’s background in console and arcade games the deal could just as easily flow both ways with Angry Birds finding success on formats other than mobile. Angry Birds Vs Sonic? It wouldn’t be too hard to imagine now would it?