‘Angry Birds’ Maker Rovio Unveils IPO Plans

Rovio Entertainment, the games and entertainment company built around the “Angry Birds” global franchise, announced plans Tuesday for an initial public offering to raise capital and improve its “strategic flexibility.”

The Espoo, Finland-based company zoomed to worldwide fame with the phenomenal popularity of “Angry Birds,” but in recent years has suffered declining revenue and profits — leading to several rounds of layoffs. Rovio said one of the benefits of going public would be to let it use shares for potential acquisitions and to compensate employees.

The Rovio IPO will comprise a secondary share sale by its largest shareholder, Trema International Holdings, and others; the company didn’t say how many shares existing investors planned to sell. In addition, Rovio expects to issue approximately 30 million euros ($36 million) worth of shares. Shares are expected to be offered to investors in Finland, Sweden and Denmark, along with institutional investors in Finland and internationally. The Rovio shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki exchange.

The company is best known for “Angry Birds,” first launched as a mobile game in 2009. Today, Rovio develops and publishes multiple mobile games and produced 2016’s “The Angry Birds Movie” with Sony, which grossed $350 million at the box office worldwide. A sequel is in development, slated for September 2019 release; under its new movie-rights licensing model, Rovio will not be investing any of its own capital in the production of the movie.

For the 12 months ended June 30, 2017, Rovio reported revenue of 152.6 million euros (about $182 million), up 94% from the year-earlier period, and a profit of 13.3 million euros ($16 million). The company’s games business unit accounted for 79% of revenue with brand licensing comprising the remainder for the most recent 12-month period.

“I am confident in our games-first strategy,” Kati Levoranta, CEO of Rovio, said in a statement. “The contemplated IPO and listing are an important milestone in developing Rovio into an even stronger games-first entertainment company.”

The company’s mobile games have been downloaded more than 3.7 billion times as of the end of June 2017, and they had on average 80 million monthly active users during the second quarter of 2017, according to Rovio. Recent game launches include “Angry Birds Evolution,” “Battle Bay” and “Angry Birds Match.”

Rovio is 70% owned by Trema International Holdings, which is controlled by Kaj Hed, the uncle of Rovio co-founder Niklas Hed, with other investors including venture-capital firms Accel Partners and Atomico.

Carnegie Investment Bank AB in Finland and Danske Bank A/S in Helsinki Branch are acting as joint coordinators in the planned IPO. Deutsche Bank AG in London and OP Corporate Bank are acting as joint bookrunners.

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