The Japanese video game company behind ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ has offered to buy the Finland-based mobile gaming company, Rovio Entertainment Oyj, in a deal worth €706m (£625m), the companies announced on Monday.
Sega Sammy has offered €9.25 per share for all outstanding shares in Rovio, which makes the mobile phone game, Angry Birds, a 19 per cent premium to its closing share price on April 14, the last day of trading before the announcement.
Sega said the “friendly takeover” is necessary to strengthen its position in the mobile gaming market, which it expects to account for more than half of a global gaming market worth $263.3bn by 2026.
“Among the rapidly growing global gaming market, the mobile gaming market has especially high potential, and it has been Sega’s long-term goal to accelerate its expansion in this field,” said Haruki Satomi, president and group chief executive of Sega Sammy, in a statement.
“I feel blessed to be able to announce such a transaction with Rovio, a company that owns “Angry Birds”, which is loved across the world, and home to many skilled employees that support the company’s industry leading mobile game development and operating capabilities,” Satomi added.
Rovio first launched Angry Birds as a mobile game in 2009. It has since expanded into consumer products and a movie.
Rovio’s mobile games have been downloaded over five billion times, the company said.
“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 Rovio’s chief executive, Alexandre Pelletier-Normand, in a statement.
“Red and Sonic: 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,” the statement added.
The offer is expected to be launched on May 8. The board of Rovio has agreed to recommend that shareholders accept the bid.
Shares in Rovio, which are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki, were up almost 18 per cent on Monday morning. Meanwhile, shares in Sega Sammy fell over 4 per cent.