Finland’s Rovio Entertainment Ltd said on Tuesday that existing shareholders, which include the uncle of the company’s co-founder as well as venture capital firms Accel Partners and Atomico, would also sell some shares, though it gave no details.
It declined too to put an estimated value on the company, which some traders have said could be a high as $2 billion. Rovio saw rapid growth after the 2009 launch of the original “Angry Birds” game, in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs that steal birds’ eggs, as the company cashed in on its popularity by licensing the brand for use on toys and clothing. Its business slowed in the following years amid new challengers, but a 3D movie release in 2016 revived the brand and gave a new boost to game sales.
In the first half of this year, Rovio’s sales almost doubled from a year earlier to 153 million euros, while core profit increased to 42 million euros from 11 million a year earlier. The company said it expected sales and profits to increase significantly in 2017 as a whole.
“Valuations, also for gaming companies, have shot up in past few years. So it’s a tempting time for the owners to make an exit,” said analyst Atte Riikola from Helsinki-based equity research firm Inderes.
“Market rumours have talked about (a Rovio) valuation around 2 billion dollars, but compared with historic results ... that sounds really high.” Technology analysts have said Rovio is too dependent on its “Angry Birds” brand and should create new intellectual property to help it grow.
The company’s main game titles at the moment include “Angry Birds 2,” “Angry Birds Friends” and a new multi-player game “Battle Bay.” In total, its games had on average 80 million monthly active users during the second quarter.
Rovio is also planning a sequel to the “Angry Birds” movie with Columbia Pictures, scheduled for release in 2019. It declined to comment on when the listing on the Helsinki stock exchange would take place.
Rovio is 69 percent owned by Trema International, a firm owned by Kaj Hed, the uncle of company co-founder Niklas Hed. Carnegie and Danske are joint global coordinators for the planned IPO, while Deutsche Bank and OP are joint bookrunners.