Rovio hits nine-month high on starting talks with Playtika

Rovio hits nine-month high on starting talks with Playtika
© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith — Shares in Rovio Entertainment (HE:ROVIO) leaped to a nine-month high in Helsinki on Monday after the creator of the Angry Birds game said it had started talks that might lead to a sale.

Rovio, which received a non-binding offer of around €750 million (€1=$1.0775) from Israeli publisher Playtika (NASDAQ:PLTK) two weeks ago, said its board has “decided to enter into preliminary non-binding discussions with certain parties, including Playtika Holding Corp” as part of a strategic review that is exploring “all strategic alternatives in order to reach the best possible outcome for Rovio and its shareholders.”

Rovio stock has struggled to live up to its promise since listing in 2018, failing to develop anything to rival the success of the Angry Birds game which made it famous. Before the news of Playtika’s interest broke, the stock was trading at barely half of its IPO level, despite a couple of pandemic-dominated years that had been kind to the videogames and electronic entertainment sector.

According to Finnish media, Playtika had initially made approaches to Rovio’s board with an offer of €8.50 a share in November, before going public with its non-binding offer of €9.05 a share in January. At the time, that represented a premium of 60% to Rovio’s market value.

Playtika appears undeterred by its previous experience of buying Finnish games publishers. It closed down Seriously, the creator of the game Best Fiends, in October 2022 less than four years after buying the studio and moved support for Best Fiends to its Israel and Poland offices. Industry media suggested at the time that Playtika had disagreed with Seriously’s requests for more investment.