‘Angry Birds’ Creator Rovio Eying Hong Kong IPO

 

COLOGNE, Germany – Finnish gaming group Rovio, creator of the Angry Birds gaming phenomenon, is mulling an initial public offering on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong perhaps as early as next year.

Rovio’s marketing head Peter Vesterbacka told Reuters news agency the company could bow on the Hong Kong exchange. "In Asia there are growing markets -- the people and the money," Vesterbacka said. Other media reports suggest the IPO could go ahead as early as next year.

Hong Kong has become a popular exchange for global firms looking to tap Asian investor capital. Prada, Samsonite and French cosmetics group L’Occtaine are some of the firms that have picked Hong Kong for their IPOs.

Rovio, however, hasn’t yet ruled out a U.S. offering. Earlier this year, the company’s chief executive Mikael Hed said Rovio was aiming for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange in two to three years.

Angry Birds, a simple game in which players use a slingshot to catapult birds at pigs who have stolen their eggs, has been downloaded 600 million times in two years, an all-time record. The game has stayed on top the iPhone download charts since it was launched in 2009.

Rovio has expanded the Angry Birds brand into a lucrative merchandising line and is planning a big screen version of the game – having brought on ex-Marvel Entertainment exec David Maisel to coordinate the transition from casual game to potential blockbuster. 

Vesterbacka has said Rovio’s goal is to reach a  market capitalization comparable to that of Walt Disney Co., whose stock is valued at more than $65 billion. Versterbacka told a Finnish paper Rovio's 2011 revenues would be around $100 million, compared with $10 million one year ago.

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