Rovio, makers of Angry Birds, eyeing IPO in 2012

Mon, Oct 17, 2011


Angry Birds may very well be the most addicting iOS game ever made. Hell, it got me hooked and I can proudly, or perhaps shamefully, boast that I’ve beaten every Angry Birds level ever created. Yep, I’m pretty adept at finding time to waste.

Building on the success of Angry Birds as a video game, the company behind the game – Rovio – has proven quite adept at branching out into other realms and leveraging the Angry Birds name across various industries. From movies to stuffed animals, anything that can be tied into the Angry Birds has been given the Rovio stamp of approval. It’s worth noting, while we’re on the topic, that Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbecka has previously thanked Apple for creating a platform which enabled Angry Birds to thrive, and pardon the pun, take off.

We really have Apple to thank, not just for helping to promote Angry Birds, but for creating the App Store to begin with. We got away from this carrier-dominated Soviet model. Other people decided on our behalf what was a good game and what was a bad game.

[Under the old system] I would have had to go to carrier and say, ‘We have this game where you have to slingshot birds at these green pigs. “They’d say ‘It’s not a poker game, we’re not interested.’

And Rovio may soon be thanking Apple for making an IPO possible.

Believe it or not, but Rovio is looking into an IPO, all built on the back of a little game where you fling birds into little green pigs.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Vesterbecka said that Rovio may offer an IPO as early as next year and is already worth more than $1 billion according to some estimates.

The Angry Birds brand also makes cash via advertising, in- game purchases and physical merchandise including T-shirts, Halloween costumes, stuffed toys and a cookbook. Rovio has benefitted from publicity, including a mention by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, who praised Vesterbacka and Angry Birds this year “for creating an occupation for a huge number of officials who now know what to do with their leisure time.”

Merchandise is 10 to 20 percent of the business, and stuffed toys, priced $8.99 to $69.99 on the company’s website, are selling a million units a month, Vesterbacka said.

“We’re insanely profitable,” he said. “We are very, very profitable. We’re not a publicly traded company yet but we can fund our own growth.”

To date, Rovio has seen over 400 million downloads across a varying number of Angry Birds titles. But still, an IPO for a company whose claim to fame is simply Angry Birds?

It sounds crazy, but Vesterbecka does make a good point.

“Disney started as a black and white cartoon about this little mouse. Nintendo has been working on Mario for 26 years. Angry Birds is less than two years old.”


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