Angry Birds developer Rovio sets its sights on 2013 IPO

The Finnish gaming company behind much-loved mobile app Angry Birds is preparing for an initial public offering in 2013, but says it’s in no hurry in light of Facebook’s ill-fated stock market float.


Rovio Entertainment, previously known as Relude and Rovio Mobile, is a Finnish video game developer and entertainment company.


It was founded in 2003 by university students Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen and Kim Dikert, and is best known for developing iPhone app Angry Birds, released in 2009.


Since then, Angry Birds has been downloaded more than one billion times.


In March 2011, Rovio raised $42 million in venture capital funding from Accel Partners, Atomico Ventures and Felicis Ventures.


Then in March this year, it acquired Futuremark Games Studio – the game development division of benchmarking company Futuremark – for an undisclosed sum.


Now Rovio has set its sights on a stockmarket listing by the end of 2013, chief financial officer Mikko Setälä told Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri.


Setälä said in light of Facebook’s disappointing IPO, Rovio is in no hurry to go public.


“We’ve prepared an IPO for 2013. But the owners have not made a decision on when it will happen, or even if it will happen,” Setälä said.


“If we go public, it will happen during the second half of next year at the earliest. We don’t have a need to bring in more cash right now.”


According to Setälä, Rovio is considering listing on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq, or in Hong Kong or Singapore.


Expectations for a listing grew after the company published net profits of 48 million euros ($56.45 million) on sales of 75.4 million euros for 2011.


It’s worth noting about 30% of its sales come from toys and licensing deals.


In November last year, Goldman Sachs identified Rovio as one of 42 start-ups most likely to file for an initial public offering.


However, Setälä has remained tight-lipped on market estimates that Angry Birds could be worth more than seven billion euros, dismissing the figure as “purely speculative”.


“We haven’t given out any figures. It would be wrong to do so. We don’t know when and where a stock market listing will take place,” he said.


Atomico Ventures, a venture capital firm founded by Skype founder Niklas Zennström, holds a 10% share in Rovio, while its main owner, Trema International Holdings, holds a 70% stake.


Trema is mostly owned by Kaj Hed, father of Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed, and uncle of chief operating officer Niklas Hed.


Last month, Rovio released its latest offering, Amazing Alex, which briefly became the number-one paid iPhone app in the United States.


With more than 400 employees in Finland, China, South Korea and the US, it’s understood Rovio is planning to open a games development office in Stockholm.


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