Rovio’s ‘Angry Birds’ is the next prepaid superstar

Rowan —  November 13, 2012 — Leave a comment

“Angry Birds,” the video game downloaded more than 1 billion times, is finding its way into consumers’ wallets.

Rovio Entertainment Oy, the game’s Finnish creator, licensed out the scowling fowl for use on prepaid Visa cards in a deal with California-based issuer Kaiku Finance LLC, the closely held companies said in a statement without disclosing terms. Four designs of the Kaiku Angry Birds Visa Prepaid Card will begin selling online early next year.

The deal marks Helsinki-based Rovio’s latest effort to capitalize on its successful mobile-game business ahead of a possible initial public offering next year. The company has more than 200 agreements for clothing, footwear, books, film and personal finance. On Nov. 8, the company plans to offer an “Angry Birds Star Wars” game in partnership with LucasFilm Ltd., according to the Rovio website.

The prepaid card business is massive with American consumers loading $57 billion onto prepaid cards in 2011, a sum that’s expected to grow 42 percent annually through 2014. More consumers are turning to prepaid cards to avoid checking-account fees that have surged.

The Angry Birds cards will come in four designs: The Red Bird, The Yellow Bird, Bomb Bird and the Bad Piggies. They will be sold only on Kaiku’s website.

Last year Rovio generated $106.3 million in revenue and $67.6 million in profit before tax on sales of the game and merchandise, according to a May statement on its website. About 30 percent of its revenue came from merchandise and licensing.

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