Angry Bird's Creator Rovio Set to Join Billionaire's Club
COLOGNE, Germany - Rovio, the company behind mobile phone gaming phenom Angry Birds is negotiating a funding deal that would value the company at around $1.2 billion, Bloomberg reports. Bloomberg quotes unnamed sources that claim Rovio is in talks with a "company in the entertainment business" interested in becoming a strategic investor in the Finnish firm. Bloomberg speculates that possible investors include Hollywood giants News Corp. and Walt Disney as well as gaming firms Electronic Arts or online giant Zynga, creator of FarmVille. All declined to comment.
In it's first round of funding in March, Rovio raised $42 million, with Atomico Ventures, run by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis and venture capital groups Accel Partners and Felicis Ventures its primary backers.
Rovio has made no secret of its desire to expand its Angry Birds brand, which had a cameo appearance in R-rated comedy Horrible Bosses, beyond iPads and smartphones. Plans include an Angry Birds feature film and a major merchandising push. The company aims to put Angry Birds plush toys in some 200 retail stores in China, for example.
The Angry Birds game became an instant global hit after its launch in December 2009 and has been downloaded by more than 300 million users worldwide.