Rovio Mobile, makers of the popular catapult-puzzle game Angry Birds, are said to be in talks with investors to receive funding that would value the company at $1.2 billion. Bloomberg reports that Rovio is considering a “strategic investment from a company in the entertainment business,” citing two unnamed sources with knowledge of the discussions.
No specific suitors were mentioned, but Michael Pachter, managing director of research at Wedbush Securities, believes potential investors could include game developers Electronic Arts and Zynga, media conglomerate News Corp. and Walt Disney.
“I can see how Disney would take ‘Angry Birds’ and turn them into a theme-park ride and a movie,” said Pachter, who is based in Los Angeles. “Zynga could take ‘Angry Birds’ and make it into ‘FarmVille.’”
Rovio was founded in 2003 but didn’t become a household name until December 2009 when the company released Angry Birds for the iPhone. Angry Birds has since become the most successful mobile app of all time, having been downloaded more than 300 million times.
The Finnish-based company hasn’t rested on their laurels, generating $4.2 million in profit in the second half of last year and securing $42 million in investments earlier this year.
If a deal is inked, Rovio would likely use the funding to make an Angry Birds movie (this could be huge if Disney were to get involved) and expand outside of Finland. It was reported a few months ago that Rovio is planning to build up to 200 Angry Birds merchandise stores throughout China. This would be in addition to the Angry Birds online store that has virtually anything you could dream up.
Angry Birds was in the news just yesterday as one of Google’s launch titles for their new gaming service on Google+.