Sega is reportedly close to buying Rovio Entertainment — the company that owns the Angry Birds mobile game franchise — for a whopping $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sega may lock in the big deal by early next week, according to people speaking with WSJ.
It’s surprising to think that Sega — specifically, its parent company Sega Sammy Holdings — would want to spend so much on Rovio given the decline in popularity of the Angry Birds games. The original game was a smash success in 2009, but the franchise has seemingly fallen off since its 2014 peak, when Rovio reported falling profits and layoffs.
In 2016, Rovio tried a movie adaptation, The Angry Birds Movie, which was a box office success and is still the seventh highest grossing video game movie — even if reviews weren’t kind. Its 2019 sequel, The Angry Birds Movie 2, did not achieve the same success. Rovio watched as competitors like Candy Crush grew more and more, eating away interest in Angry Birds.
Perhaps Sega has dreams of launching Angry Birds into the Nights
Recently, Rovio removed its original Angry Birds game from the Google Play Store, and it renamed the iOS version to Red’s First Flight. The move was done seemingly to move players over to its lucrative freemium sequels and obscure the buy once and play forever business model of the original game.
Rovio previously neared an $800 million deal for Israeli developer Playtika to take over, but those talks officially dwindled in March. Now, Sega might soon own the Finland-based Angry Birds company instead.
Maybe Sega’s got a new set of heroes on par with Sonic and friends, just waiting for an epic mobile games franchise to propel them.