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Look out Mario and Luigi, the hedgehog is teaming up with some angry birds.

Video game giant Sega is nearing a purchase of games studio Rovio for $1 billion, the same valuation that the Finland-based "Angry Birds" creator touted when it went public in 2017.

Flying and Falling

Rovio was once Finland's unicorn. Its flagship mobile game, where players fling annoyed avians at sinful swine, has been downloaded more than 5 billion times. It's also spun off into multiple games, comic books, TV shows, movies, and a handful of amusement parks. Who could be angry with that?

The problem is that Rovio has only ever really had one feather in its cap. A staggering 83% of its gaming revenue comes from Angry Birds titles, Bloomberg reported. When players began switching to games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, the Helsinki business didn't have the most player-friendly plan B. To curb decreasing revenue, Rovio removed the original Angry Birds game from the Google Play store in February, claiming it was done to avoid confusion on the app store and direct players to other games in the Angry Birds portfolio. In reality, Rovio was saying "We want people playing the games that feature microtransactions, not the version you pay for once."

Now with a market cap of roughly $715 million, Rovio is looking to sell:

  • The Israel-based Playtika, which makes mobile games and slot machines, offered to buy Rovio for $735 million in January. When the talks of the sale emerged, Rovio's stock jumped to a nine-month high, but the two businesses never came to an agreement.
  • Details are still scarce on the Sega acquisition, and Rovio is remaining tightlipped on the merger, but The Wall Street Journal reported the deal could finalize early this week.

Over in the Mushroom Kingdom: Nintendo can stop gloating about beating Sega in the Console Wars of the 1980s, and start gloating about today's cinematic landscape. The Sonic the Hedgehog film and its sequel may have earned a combined $725 million at the box office, but The Super Mario Bros. Movie has already taken in $678 million in just under two weeks, leading many to believe this could be the start of a Nintendo's own cinematic universe. And don't forget, it still hasn't premiered in Mario-crazed Japan.

Going underground: In other game-related M&A news, Microsoft is still trying to complete its monumental $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, and while Japan, Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia have OK'd the deal, regulators in the US and the UK are impeding the acquisition based on antitrust policies. Never minding the bollocks, Microsoft has advertised the merger in the Financial Times, The Daily Mail, and most recently, London's tube stations.