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Rovio posts Q4 profit drop, says mobile game market shrank last year

Finnish game maker Rovio, best known for its Angry Birds franchise, posted a fall in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday and said the global mobile game market in 2022 declined for the first time ever.

“The market normalised after supercharged growth during the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, when the global market grew annually by 30.1% and 12.5%, respectively,” the company said in its financial statement.

Rovio, which is currently the target of a takeover offer from larger U.S.-listed rival Playtika, said game developers’ revenue was also dented by privacy changes on Apple’s iPhone.

“Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework has heavily impacted game publishers’ ability to target high-value players,” the gamemaker said.

Rovio reported a 55% decline to 5.9 million euros ($6.3 million) in its fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit, while its revenue declined 2.5%.

Rovio said its games outperformed the market but that its low profit in 2022 was due to a writedown of its subsidiary that tried to develop Hatch, a 5G gaming platform that never resulted in commercial success.

The mobile gaming market showed signs of stabilising towards the end of the year, it said, adding it expects flat revenue and profit development this year.

“After five consecutive quarters of decline, it was encouraging to see the U.S. market turn to slight growth,” CEO Alex Pelletier-Normand said in a statement.

On Monday, Rovio said it had initiated a strategic review and entered “preliminary nonbinding discussions” to consider Playtika’s offer for its shares. Reuters

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