2012 might be the year that Rovio officially goes public. Their game Angry Birds has seen 400 million free and paid downloads since 2009, about three-quarters of which have come in the past half year and is estimated to be worth $1 billion.
“We’re not ready to file for an IPO tomorrow,” said Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio chief marketing officer. “Maybe a year from now. We’re happy with our valuation but we think it’s probably a bit north of that.”
Rovio’s business has expanded to include t-shirts, Halloween costumes, stuffed toys and a cookbook. Roughly 10 to 20 percent of their business is now merchandising.
“We’re insanely profitable,” said Vesterbacka. “We are very, very profitable. We’re not a publicly traded company yet but we can fund our own growth.”
Rumors have swirled over an Angry Birds TV show or movie and Rovio estimates that the game has about 150 million active users. “We think we have a good shot at being the first entertainment brand that has a billion fans — people we can talk to and have a dialog with every day,” said Vesterbacka.
“We’re still building a lot of our infrastructure, our company, our platform, everything,” Vesterbacka said. “There’s a lot of good discipline in having to be ready to go public.”
Rovio may seek another venture-capital round before its IPO. “We’re still building a lot of our infrastructure, our company, our platform, everything,” Vesterbacka said. “There’s a lot of good discipline in having to be ready to go public.”
Vesterbacka noted that Angry Birds is on a 20 year plan, and that the anticipated movie might come as an app. “Disney started as a black and white cartoon about this little mouse,” he said. “Nintendo has been working on Mario for 26 years. Angry Birds is less than two years old.”