Rovio sells TV animation studio to Kaiken Entertainment

Former Rovio CEO Mikael Hed leads evolution of Kaiken Publishing, which was already master licensee for Angry Birds books

Rovio has sold its TV animation studio to Kaiken Entertainment, along with its book publishing business and some unnamed "non-Angry Birds properties."

In a statement published yesterday, the deal was described as "part of the ongoing reorganization of Rovio's Animation Division," which released The Angry Birds Movie in May last year. According to Box Office Mojo, the company's first animated feature-film made $350 million at the global box office, on a production budget of $73 million.

However, the Vancouver-based animation studio acquired by Kaiken Entertainment is focused on television, and Rovio has confirmed that the two companies will continue to collaborate on Angry Birds projects. Kaiken is also the "global master licensee" of Angry Birds books, an arrangement that has been in place since February 2016, when the company was known as Kaiken Publishing.

However, this deal marks an evolution for the company, expanding its remit beyond book publishing and into film, streaming video and apps. Mikael Hed, the former CEO of Rovio, joined Kaiken this month as its executive chairman, while Kaiken Publishing CEO Laura Nevanlinna will be head of franchise and portfolio development. Indeed, almost the entirety of Kaiken's management team is composed of former Rovio staff, with producers Ulla Junell and Joonas Rissanen will be head of animation and creative director respectively.

"This team has been integral in building the hugely successful franchise around Angry Birds," says Mikael Hed, Executive Chair, Kaiken Entertainment. "With this amazing team of experts and storytellers, we are thrilled to be pursuing the next big hit."

Steve Pegram, whose CV includes executive roles at Aardman and DreamWorks as well as Rovio, and Tommy Korpinen, Rovio's current president of animation, have joined Kaiken's advisory board.

Kaiken has offices in Los Angeles, Helsinki and Vancouver.

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