Rovio adds Marimekko CEO to its board of directors, re-fueling imminent IPO rumors

Rovio adds Marimekko CEO to its board of directors, re-fueling imminent IPO rumors

This is a bit insidery, but very relevant to the European tech industry.

Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment only had three directors on its board up until now: its chairman, financier Kaj Hed – father of CEO Mikael Hed – and Camilla Hed (which we assume is his mom), as well as Rovio investor and Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström.

Today, the company announced that it is adding a fourth director to the board, and it’s a person with some serious media, brand and business clout. Joining Rovio’s board (and as a minority shareholder in the business) is Mika Ihamuotila, a seasoned entrepreneur and high-profile executive with a Ph.D. in economics.

Ihamuotila is currently president, CEO and principal shareholder of Marimekko, a renowned Finnish fashion and design company with over 100 stores in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Previously he held president and CEO positions in the financial world (Rovio IPO imminent, anyone?) and he currently also sits on the board of Sanoma, one of the largest media and learning companies in Europe.

Says Kaj Hed:

“Mika has comprehensive brand, channel and business expertise, and we are very delighted that he is joining Rovio´s Board of Directors. This year we will focus on building our products and services to ensure sustainable growth and value in the long term.”

Yup, that’s the sounds of IPO bells tolling right there. For the record, both Marimekko and Sanoma are publicly listed companies.

Rovio currently employs over 650 people in its headquarters in Espoo, Finland, and offices in Tampere, Sweden, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan.

In 2012, Rovio booked sales of €152.2 million – roughly $195 million – up from €75.6 million ($96.9 million) in revenue the year before, a 101 percent jump in other words.

The company’s net profit for the year was €55.5 million or $71 million, up from €35.4 million ($45.4 million) in 2011. That’s a 57 percent increase.

Its main revenue sources remain paid games, virtual goods and advertising, although merchandising is closing in and might even make up the bulk of Rovio’s revenue in the future.

Chatter about an upcoming IPO for the gaming and entertainment media company has been going on and off since early 2011, but there’s a solid chance of Rovio to start publicly listing its stock in 2014.

The appointment of Ihamuotila to its board of directors is certainly fodder for the re-fueling of those rumors, and then the questions will become: where will Rovio IPO, and, obviously, how much will its shares trade for?

Also read:

Inside the nest: After 3 years of Angry Birds, what’s next for Rovio?

Rovio hires former EA and Digital Chocolate exec Jami Laes to head up its game division

Rovio becomes a publisher of third-party mobile games with the launch of Rovio Stars

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