Capping what appears to be a remarkable turnaround, Finland’s Rovio announced today that it has filed for an initial public offering of stock to expand its mobile gaming business and make acquisitions.
The company will issue $36 million worth of new stock. In addition, some current shareholders will be allowed to sell stock in the offering to recoup some of their investment.
The financial disclosure form released by Rovio today indicates that the company saw revenues almost double the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. It also notes that in 2016, revenue jumped more than 30 percent over 2015.
Thanks to the worldwide sensation of Angry Birds, Rovio has become one of the hottest gaming properties on the planet. But the ability to milk that hit seemed to hit a wall in 2014. In December of that year, the company fired 110 employees and closed one of its game development studios to stem the bleeding.
The company took a chance on developing its own animated movie based on Angry Birds, which proved to be a success. In Rovio’s brand licensing category, that helped revenue about triple to $41 million in the first six months of 2017. But gaming revenue also doubled to $139 million in those six months, boosted by the games Battle Bay and Angry Birds Evolution. And the company was eager to underline the fact that at its core, it remains a gaming company that can still launch new titles.
“Through our games-first strategy, we have strengthened our games portfolio and improved the key performance indicators,” said Kati Levoranta, the CEO of Rovio, in a statement. “All of our recent launches – Angry Birds Evolution, Battle Bay, and Angry Birds Match – have shown better performance in key performance indicators than any previously launched Rovio game, thus suggesting additional growth potential ahead.”
The big winner in the IPO, however, is likely to be Kaj Hed, the company’s former chairman and owner of reportedly 69 percent of the company via his investment vehicle, Trema International Holdings. In the filing today, Rovio noted that Trema will be selling an undisclosed number of shares along with “certain other shareholders.” The company did not put a price on the offering, so there was no overall valuation for the company.
But Hed was essential to the creation of Rovio. The company was founded by Niklas Hed, his cousin Mikael Hed, Kim Diker, and Jarno Väkeväinen. The company raised its first round of funding in 2005 from Hed, Mikael’s father, when it adopted the name of Rovio.
Mikael Hed was made CEO in 2009, and later that year, the company released the first version of Angry Birds. In 2011, Accel Partners and Atomico invested $42 million into Rovio and now own a reported 20 percent of the company. Rovio did not disclose specifically whether Atomico and Accel were selling shares.
The company also did not set a date for the IPO.
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