The Satomi Family’s Sega Empire Acquires ‘Angry Birds’ Maker to Expand Mobile Games

Sega, the Japanese company known for "Sonic the Hedgehog," made a $722 million bid to acquire Finland's Rovio in an effort to expand its mobile offerings.

A man wearing a black shirt stands next to a life-sized Sonic the Hedgehog.
Haruki Satomi leads the company that created Sonic the Hedgehog. Getty Images

Sega Sammy Holdings, the Japanese video game powerhouse run by CEO Haruki Satomi, made a bid to acquire the creator of Angry Birds today (April 17). The deal values Rovio Entertainment, a Finnish company, at 706 million euros ($772 million).

Sega is most known for its Sonic the Hedgehog game series. It intends to use Rovio’s advanced mobile gaming technology to bring its own titles to the global mobile market, according to the acquisition statement.

“Among the rapidly growing global gaming market, the mobile gaming market has especially high potential, and it has been SEGA’s long-term goal to accelerate its expansion in this field,” said Satomi in a statement.

Satomi began his career at Sega in the mobile games sector and became chief executive in 2015. His father, Hajime Satomi, is the company’s billionaire chairman. Hajime Satomi founded Sammy, the maker of pachinko video game machines popular in Japan, which acquired Sega in 2004 for $1.45 billion.

While Sega traditionally made money in the arcade games market and console gaming, it has spent the last decade building its digital gaming division. The bid represents an increased investment from the Satomi family in mobile gaming.

Rovio’s shareholders will have to approve the deal, and its biggest stock owners have already signed off. Shareholders include Moor Holding Ab, the Finish investment firm owned by Rovio chairman Kaj Hed; Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company, a Finnish insurance company; and Mert Can Kurum, creator of a gaming studio acquired by Rovio. Its shares rose by 18 percent to 9.18 euros following the announcement. Sega’s shares fell by as much as 5 percent to 2,552 yen ($19) in Japan today.

The proposed acquisition is part of a 250 billion yen ($1.86 billion) investment plan intended to grow Sega. The company recorded 37 billion yen in profit last year, a height it hasn’t reached in a decade. While Rovio’s revenue increased last year, it faced a slowed mobile games market for the first time ever, Rovio CEO Alex Pelletier-Normand said in February. The market began to stabilize at the end of 2022, the statement said.

“Combining the strengths of Rovio and SEGA presents an incredibly exciting future,” Pelletier-Normand said in the acquisition statement. He has worked as chief executive for two years, following a 15-year career at Gameloft, a French video game maker.

The Satomi Family’s Sega Empire Acquires ‘Angry Birds’ Maker to Expand Mobile Games