Sega and Rovio have said they will now help each other build IP across platforms and other media following their landmark deal.
Last month, Sega confirmed it would be acquiring Rovio in a deal worth €706m or $776m. The Japanese game-maker noted that it was a “friendly takeover” and that Rovio’s board is supportive.
Sega president and CEO Haruki Satomi explained today: “We believe that by reaching out to the global market, we will be able to achieve another level of significant growth. For Rovio, you will have the opportunity to expand into areas other than mobile games based on Sega’s developing and publishing capability for a variety of platforms.”
“In Japanese, there’s a word Omotenashi, which means hospitality and to treat guests with respect and care,” he continued. “Sega respects Rovio with its spirit of Omotenashi.”
Satomi said that the companies had been in dialogue since June last year about other business opportunities, which later developed into formal takeover talks.
“Actually, after we agreed the deal, I looked through the email chains at what was the first contact we had and it’s almost a year ago, in June last year,” said Satomi, who added that Rovio CEO Alexandre Pelletier-Normand had later visited Sega in September, around Tokyo Game Show. Satomi also met with Rovio leadership in Finland in late 2022.
Following Playtika’s public bid for Rovio in January, we reported that some Rovio staff “lost their minds” at the prospect of being owned by the Israeli company, which had previously acquired fellow Finns Seriously and Reworks.
Rovio boss Alexandre Pelletier-Normand said that the reception to the Sega buyout was rather more positive. “Judging by the smiles across the room and the positive atmosphere we felt it was clear that Rovians were excited at the idea of partnering with a company that many of them had admired since childhood, playing Sonic the Hedgehog on their Sega Genesis,” he said.
“Sega has a long history of developing and nurturing IPs and this respect for craftsmanship is paramount to Rovians when thinking about a new home, given the pride and the attachment we all have towards Angry Birds.”
On bringing the two businesses together, Sega’s co-COO Shuji Utsumi noted that 88% of Sega’s mobile revenue comes from Japan, and so the goal with the Rovio deal is to build its overseas mobile business significantly.
Utsumi also talked through the potential of other media. “I believe the recent success of the Mario movie should accelerate the transmedia trend of game IPs,” he said. “I feel like Sega is a treasure island with great IPs and great talent.”
“We also see Rovio has strengths we do not have,” he added. “With Rovio I believe Sega can accelerate its transmedia initiative more aggressively.”
For Rovio, boss Alexandre Pelletier-Normand said that the Sega deal would accelerate the company’s efforts to take “Angry Birds outside of mobile on PC and console”. He also suggested that the Finnish firm could help deploy Sega IP more successfully on mobile: “It’s exciting for us to think about what else can we do on top of what we do with Angry Birds with other brands.”
Rovio chairman Kim Ignatius also talked through how the Finnish firm got to this point after Playtika’s public takeover bid, and the strategic review that came after that.
“We considered all options, of course from the perspective of the shareholders, but also from the perspective of Rovio itself and the Rovians,“ he said. “The options included possible transactions, but also naturally continuing as a standalone company by executing Rovio’s announced strong strategy that we believe in firmly.”
“As part of the review, we had discussions with several interested parties about a potential combination. My personal reflection is that throughout the process, when meeting with the people from Sega, I always felt that there was strong potential in this combination.”
“The conversations with Sega were fruitful and constructive from the very beginning and between February and April, an extensive due diligence was completed by Sega. Several meetings were held where we got to know each other, and possible synergies were explored. During this process it became quite evident that Sega and Rovio would make a very strong fit.”
“The board of directors of Rovio is recommending this deal not only because of the reasons I just mentioned but because this is also a financially solid deal. The share offer price represents a premium of approximately 63% compared to the undisturbed share price.”