* 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 paragraph)
By Liana B. Baker and Jussi Rosendahl
NEW YORK/HELSINKI, March 18 (Reuters) - 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 board. [ID:nLDE72918B]
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 downloaded.
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. [ID:nN0399540]
Still, some investors may be hesitant to give Rovio a chance, since it could be viewed as a one-hit wonder with “Angry Birds.”
“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)