Angry Birds developer slashes up to 130 jobs to 'reignite growth'

Rovio is laying off people to reignite growth, its CEO said

The red Angry Bird plush toy by Rovio.

The red Angry Bird plush toy by Rovio.

Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish company behind mobile game hit Angry Birds, will lay off up to 130 people in its home country.

The company will be laying off about 16 percent of its workforce, Rovio's CEO Mikael Hed said Thursday.

"We have been building our team on assumptions of faster growth than have materialized. As a result, we announced today that we plan to simplify our organization around our three key businesses with the highest growth potential: games, media, and consumer products," Hed said.

The layoffs come just months after the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to grant Rovio €25 million (about US$31.6 million) in financial support in June.

One of EIB's top priorities is supporting job creation and growth through innovation by medium-sized companies. At the time, the investment bank complimented Rovio for demonstrating strong growth in revenue and staff, expanding from 200 employees at the beginning of 2012 to over 800 at the end of 2013.

Rovio is currently in "a good place to reignite growth" and that it is the right time to consider layoffs, Hed said Thursday.

Rovio showed strong growth between 2010 and 2012, growing its net profit after tax from €3 million to €55.5 million. In 2013, however, the company was unable to continue that streak and net profit fell to €26.9 million, while revenue was flat compared to 2012.

Hed announced in August that he would step down as CEO before the end of the year. Hed is to continue with the company as a member of its board and as chairman of the animation and movies unit, Rovio Animation Studios.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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