The Sega logo was displayed at the Japanese gaming giant’s booth at the Tokyo Game Show in Chiba, Japan, on 15 September 2022. Sega on Monday announced a cash offer worth around 706 million euros for Rovio, the Finnish game studio behind Angry Birds. (Yuichi Yamazaki – AFP / Lehtikuva)


SEGA has announced a cash offer worth around 706 million euros for all shares in Rovio, the Espoo-based game studio behind Angry Birds. The offer values each share at 9.25 euros, a premium of roughly 19 per cent on the closing price on Friday.

Rovio’s board of directors revealed yesterday in a press release that it is unanimously agreed to recommend that the offer be accepted by shareholders and option holders.

Haruki Satomi, the chief executive of Sega Sammy, said the Japanese gaming giant has adopted the long-term goal of accelerating its expansion in the especially high-potential mobile gaming segment.

“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,” he stated.

The 15th largest gaming company in the world, Sega will detail the terms and conditions of its offer in a document that is expected to be released in early May. The acquisition is expected to be confirmed by early July.

Kim Ignatius, the board chairperson at Rovio, stated to Helsingin Sanomat on Monday that it remains premature to speculate on the practical implications of the takeover, such as the degree of independence the game studio would enjoy as part of Sega.

“We’re feeling very positive about this and hope that we can get the transaction over the finish line,” he said.

The offer is solid for the shareholders of Rovio, Atte Riikola, an analyst at Inderes, estimated in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat. It prices in, to an extent, the growth outlook of the game studio and is about 14 times higher than the studio’s operating profit, a good level in light of the situation in the game industry.

Last year was challenging for the industry as the lift provided by the coronavirus pandemic waned, resulting in the first ever contraction for the mobile gaming segment. Many studios also struggled to adapt to the changes made to advertiser identifiers (IDFA) by Apple, which added to the difficulty of targeting adds and bringing in new players.

“Rovio, however, has had a fairly stable growth outlook. Rovio was in such a strong financial position that it wasn’t forced to sell,” said Riikola.

Sega, he added, appears a significantly friendlier owner than Israel’s Playtika, which submitted an offer worth 9.05 euros per share for Rovio in January. His assessment was echoed by KooPee Hiltunen, the director of Neogames.

“It’s justifiable to say that Sega’s motives for the acquisition are different. Playtika’s operating model seems to be to acquire game brands and transfer their development to other parts of the world. It was a realistic threat that in its hands Rovio would’ve had the same fate as Seriously,” he said to Helsingin Sanomat.

Playtika shuttered the Finnish game studio less than three years after acquiring, making about 120 employees redundant.

Shareholders in Sega were less excited about the proposition. Shares in the Japanese gaming giant decreased by 4.2 per cent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT