Rovio has expansion plans

Kombo purchase part of showbiz push

The Angry Birds are getting ready to fling themselves at Hollywood in an even more aggressive fashion.

Rovio Mobile has acquired Finish animation studio Kombo and plans to use the group to expand its push into new areas of the entertainment biz far beyond the company’s gaming roots.

“We have had a long and fruitful relationship with Kombo,” said Rovio CEO Mikael Hed in a statement. “This acquisition is an important step in the execution of our media strategy.”

Kombo and Rovio have worked together on promotional videos that have been major hits on YouTube, but Rovio has bigger plans. Late last year, the company’s founders visited a number of studios and agencies to discuss everything from TV shows and movies to toys and comicbooks based on the Angry Birds franchise.

“It doesn’t make sense (to produce a slate of different games) when you have a hit of any caliber,” Hed told Variety at the time. “When you create brand equity, to do that again would be a difficult task rather than nurture and build around what you have.”

Rovio partnered with Fox for a tie-in on “Rio” earlier this year. The app — “Angry Birds Rio” — was downloaded 10 million times in just 10 days. And the company has long since moved beyond its iPhone roots.

“Angry Birds” is now available on a plethora of platforms, including Android mobile devices, PC, Mac, Facebook and PlayStation 3. Development is under way to bring it to the Xbox 360, all Nintendo devices and Windows Phone 7. And on Wednesday, the company announced a deal with set-top box Roku, which will bring the game to TVs.

The flurry of movement has lured investors as well. Rovio secured $42 million in Series A funding in March and has a current valuation north of $200 million. Industry observers say it’s just a matter of time before the company goes public.

While that may seem ambitious for a company with only one franchise, consider this: Though just 18 months old, “Angry Birds” is currently played by 40 million active users per month.

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