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Vesterbacka: Rovio's IPO may happen in 2012

Estimates value 'north' of $1bn, says studio looking at acquisitions

Rovio's Peter Vesterbacka, marketing chief and 'mighty eagle', has said that the studio may stage its IPO next year, estimating the company's value at more than $1 billion.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Vesterbacka said that he felt that now was not the time to start selling shares, as the company wasn't ready, but that it could happen "maybe a year from now".

Vesterbacka also mentioned that the company was weighing up the wisdom of making more acquisitions prior to floating.

The company is currently valued at $1 billion, but Vesterbacka thinks that's probably underpricing the outfit, telling reporters that "we're happy with our valuation but we think it's probably a bit north of that."

Rovio has diversified the Angry Birds product line significantly, making 10-20 per cent of revenue from merchandise such as stuffed toys and an Angry Birds cookbook. Plans for films and other new product and revenue streams are also under way.

"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."

The company has seen meteoric growth since the release of Angry Birds in 2009, becoming a by-word for the App Store goldrush. As Vesterbacka admits, without Apple's storefront, the company would have struggled to meet with such success.

"Before the iPhone and the app stores, if you weren't friends with the handset makers, even if you made a great game you couldn't get it out there. There were all these people on gateways controlling what went out. The app store model has changed the dynamics."

Growth continues, too. Of the 400 million paid-for and free downloads of Angry Birds, three quarters have come in the last six months, setting the company up for some alarmingly large target numbers.

"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 dialogue with every day," said Vesterbacka, espousing a 20 year plan for the franchise.

"Disney started as a black and white cartoon about this little mouse. Nintendo has been working on Mario for 26 years. Angry Birds is less than two years old."

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Dan Pearson