A giant Red Bird catapult game stands at the entrance to Angry Birds Land, near Tampere, Finland. (Photographer: Juho Kuva/Bloomberg)

Angry Birds Maker Rovio Plunges After Games Head Quits

(Bloomberg) -- The maker of the Angry Birds game, Rovio Oyj, plunged on Friday after the Finnish company said its head of games was leaving “with immediate effect” and reported full fourth-quarter numbers that failed to appease angry investors.

The shares sank 14 percent at one point on Friday, and traded about 11 percent lower as of 3:06 p.m. in Helsinki. The selloff comes just over a week after Rovio lost half its market value after disappointing shareholders with its preliminary results and outlook.

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Chief Executive Officer Kati Levoranta, who led Rovio through an initial public offering in September, said management is “not satisfied with the current performance,” in the statement. “Our intention is to return to a higher growth path,” she said. On a conference call shortly afterwards, the CEO said part of the reason the fourth quarter was so tough was because “competition in the market intensified toward the end of the year.”

Shareholders who bought Rovio stock for 11.50 euros a piece in the IPO less than half a year ago have watched their investments sink more than 60 percent in value, leaving the company worth about 353 million euros ($435 million).

The full fourth-quarter results published on Friday showed profit growth, but did little to dispel investor concerns. Rovio also said Head of Games Wilhelm Taht is leaving for personal reasons with immediate effect. The CEO, Levoranta, “will for the time being also assume the role of head of games,” Rovio said.

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The company said it’s looking into closing its London studio, resulting in the loss of seven jobs there. Rovio plans instead to focus its games business in Espoo, Finland, and Stockholm. Levoranta said the company’s future growth lies in the games business.

Rovio is proposing to pay a dividend of 9 euro cents per share, more than the 8 cent highest estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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