* Planning IPO and likely to be listed on Nasdaq
* Details still open, could go public in next five years
* Angry Birds said to have 40 million people monthly
* Investors fear firm may be "one-hit wonder" - analyst
(Adds new executive comment, Helsinki location in second
By Liana B. Baker and Jussi Rosendahl
NEW YORK/HELSINKI, March 18 Rovio, the
developer of the "Angry Birds" mobile game, plans a U.S.
initial public offering in the next five years, a move that
could give investors a chance to tap into the fastest growing
segment of the video game industry.
The chairman of Rovio Mobile's board, Kaj Hed, told Reuters
in Helsinki on Friday the IPO would be in the next five years
and listed in the United States, likely on the Nasdaq.
"Our fans are primarily in U.S., so it's easy for us to
bring our brand there," said Hed, who is also the father of
co-founder and Chief Executive Mikael Hed.
Hed believes an IPO is a better route for Rovio than a sale
to another company. Rovio's original publisher, Chillingo, was
sold to Electronic Arts Inc ERTS.O in October.
The executive added the company will consider raising money
through a new round of funding with investors.
"It's very positive to have huge amount of investors
interested in us," he said.
Just last week, Rovio raised $42 million in funding from
investors and named Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstroem to its
Hed, who along with his family owns a majority of the
company, plans to keep its headquarters in Finland.
A pop culture phenomenon and one of the hottest mobile
games, "Angry Birds" features birds destroying the pigs who
stole their eggs, with the help of a slingshot. More than 75
million paid and ad-supported versions of the game have been
Mobile game sales are expected to grow to $11.4 billion by
2014, according to research firm Gartner, and will keep eating
into the revenue of traditional game publishers, those that
create action or sports games played on consoles and TV sets.
Still, some investors may be hesitant to give Rovio a
chance, since it could be viewed as a one-hit wonder with
"Investors tend to be more skeptical and want to see a
track record of more than one product," said Wedbush Securities
analyst Michael Pachter.
Other publicly traded companies that focus on mobile games
are Gameloft GLFT.PA, which is listed in Paris, and Glu
Mobile Inc (GLUU.O), which is listed on the Nasdaq.
Kaj Hed first told about the plans to list in New York in
an interview with Talouselama, a business magazine in Finland.
(Additional reporting by Alina Selyukh; editing by Dave
Zimmerman, John Wallace and Andre Grenon)