Angry Birds creator to get major funding

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Rovio Entertainment Oy, the company behind the ?Angry Birds? mobile-phone game, is reportedly in discussions to receive funding that would value the company at around $1.2 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Two people with knowledge of the talks told Bloomberg that the Finland-based game maker is considering a “strategic investment” from a company in the entertainment industry. Past offers from large institutional investors have been rejected, the people said.

The investment could be put toward a planned expansion that includes an “Angry Birds” movie, stuffed animal and clothing sales at 200 retail stores in China and offices outside of Finland.

Michael Pachter, managing director of research at Wedbush Securities Inc., told Bloomberg that the most likely companies to be having such talks with Rovio include gaming concerns Electronic Arts and Zynga and media giants News Corp. and Walt Disney.

In July, Electronic Arts acquired?PopCap Games, maker of Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled and Zuma, for $650 million in cash and $100 million in stock, according to CNET. The deal also allowed for PopCap to receive up to $550 million in earnouts if certain revenue levels were hit.

Rovio?raised $42 million in March, according to Reuters, from investors including Accel Partners, which has previously backed Facebook, and Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstroem’s venture capital firm, Atomico Ventures.

“Angry Birds will continue to grow and we aim to create more similar success stories,” Mikael Hed, Rovio’s chief executive and co-founder, said at the time.

According to Rovio, “Angry Birds” has been downloaded 300 million times. Back in March, the company told Reuters the game had 40 million monthly active users.

In less than two years,?Angry Birds?has become a global cultural phenomenon and the small Finnish company that created the computer game looks to have hit the jackpot.

The company plans to make an?Angry Birds?movie and open offices outside Finland. According to industry analysts the most likely investors in Rovio include game developers Electronic Arts and Zynga, and media giants News Corp and Walt Disney.

?Angry Birds? is one of several Web games to be offered on Google Inc.?s new social-networking site, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a blog post yesterday.

The popularity of Angry Birds continues to soar as the game has now reached 140 million downloads worldwide, according to an executive with its publisher Rovio Mobile.

The download numbers represent a major surge from the 100 million downloads? reported by Rovio in March, and puts Angry Birds further into the ranks of the top selling games of all time.

Sources: cnn, irishtimes, Bloomberg

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