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Sega has agreed to acquire Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment for $776.2 million (706 million euros) as the consolidation in gaming continues.
Sega, a division of Sega Sammy Holdings in Tokyo, said it plans to make a tender offer to acquire the Finnish company through the Sega Europe subsidiary and it has entered into a definitive agreement with Rovio. Sega said the deal will enable a global expansion of its consumer business through the boost that Rovio will give to its mobile gaming capabilities.
The deal comes 12 days after Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Gaming Group agreed to buy mobile game maker Scopely for $4.9 billion. This is part of an ongoing consolidating in games that has been going on for years and has featured deals such as Microsoft’s $68.7 billion pending bid for Activision Blizzard. But mobile game companies in particular have been vulnerable to acquisitions because growth has stalled and Apple has made the business less profitable with its focus on privacy over targeted ads.
Through the deal, Sega aims to acquire all of Rovio’s outstanding shares and options at 9.25 euros per share and 1.48 euros per option, or 706 million euros. The amount is less than the $1 billion estimated in a news story from the Wall Street Journal last week.
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The acquisition is a friendly takeover, as Espoo, Finland-based Rovio’s board of directors has agreed to, and has expressed support towards the tender offer, Sega said.
Shareholders in Rovio who in aggregate hold shares corresponding to approximately 49.1 percent of the outstanding shares and votes in Rovio, have irrevocably undertaken to accept the Offer, subject to certain customary conditions. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of FY2024/3 and is contingent on the completion of reviews under applicable antitrust laws and other customary conditions.
Sega said the move is part of its plan to convert existing intellectual properties into global brands, strengthening user engagement through multi-platform support and enhanced media mix and more.
Sega previously acquired The Creative Assembly, maker of the Total War series, in 2005, and Japan’s Atlus in 2013.
Sega notes that IDG expects the global gaming market to hit $263.3 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.5% from 2022 to 2026. And it notes mobile gaming is set to grow at a CAGR of 5% to more than 56% of the 2026 total.
Sega said it firmly believes that it is imperative to continue investing in its game development and operating capabilities, in order to further strengthen its position in this fast-growing mobile and global gaming market. And that’s why it agreed to to acquire Rovio.
Rovio’s games have been downloaded more than five billion times. It is best known for Angry Birds, which debuted on mobile in 2009 and has inspired a couple of movies and lots of sequels.
Sega said it will make use of Rovio’s distinctive know-how in live service mobile game operation, to bring Sega’s current and new titles to the global mobile gaming market. Sega believes Rovio’s platform, Beacon, holds 20 years of high-level expertise in live service-mobile game operation centered around the United States and Europe.
“I grew up playing Sonic the Hedgehog, captivated by its state-of-the-art design. Later, when I played Angry Birds for the first time, I knew that gaming had evolved into a true mainstream phenomenon, with the power to shape modern culture,” said Alexandre Pelletier-Normand, CEO of Rovio, in a statement. “Joining Rovio has been an honour and I am proud to have seen Angry Birds continue to grow, as we released new games, series and films. Less known but equally impressive is our industry-leading proprietary technology platform, Beacon, holding 20 years of expertise, allowing tight-knit teams to develop world-class GaaS products.”
He added, “Our mission is to ‘Craft Joy’ and we are thrilled at the idea of using our expertise and tools to bring even more joy to our players, enhancing and expanding Rovio’s and Sega’s vibrant IPs. Red and Sonic the Hedgehog: two globally recognized and iconic characters made by two remarkably complementary companies, with a worldwide reach that spans mobile, PC/console, and beyond. Combining the strengths of Rovio and Sega presents an incredibly exciting future.”
BofA Securities Japan Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, is acting as Sega’s sole financial advisor and Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd. is Sega’s legal counsel.
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