Angry Birds propels Rovio towards an IPO

Reuters reports Finnish gamer Rovio Entertainment’s income jumped 10x in the last year, priming it for an IPO analysts peg at $9B. (That’s a B.)

Rovio has been around since 2003, but few knew of them until they launched the Angry Birds iPhone app in 2009. Did their game-making skills improve that much from 2003 to 2009? Did access to the millions of users of iPhone provide the necessary catalyst?  Certainly these were factors, but others were riding the same train.

IP watchers will zero in on the characters.  Rovio reports over 30% of its revenues come from merchandizing. They consider Disney one of their chief competitors. One of the increased investments listed by CEO Mikael Hed is brand protection.

We’ll soon learn whether success with one character set can translate to another, as Rovio plans several new game launches this year, including a non-Angry Birds title … and that is one interested valuators will watch closely.