The Scheinberg family, the Israeli family behind the success of the second largest online poker room in the world, PokerStars.com, has announced they are ready to launch their online gaming firm in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), or else sell it.
The company's founder, Isai Scheinberg, and his family, own 75% of PokerStars, while employees own most of the remaining 25%.
The family's apparent nonchalance stems from the fact that they are set to make at least $2 billion either way, having hired London merchant bank NM Rothschild to sell or float PokerStars at a price of more than $2 billion.
Speculation has arisen in the online gaming community that, while it is possible PokerStars will indeed launch as a float on the market later this year, it is more likely that a merger will take place with fellow gaming giant, 888 Holdings Plc., owner of PokerStars' rival Pacific Poker, one of the top five largest Internet poker rooms in the world.
888 Holdings floated on the LSE for a value of £600 million last year, and is controlled by two Israeli families - the Shakeds and Ben Yitzhacks. Other companies rumored to be interested in a possible takeover of PokerStars include William Hill and Rank Group.
PokerStars is based on the Isle of Man, and derives most of its business from clients based in the United States. It is second to PartyPoker.com, owned by Internet gaming giant PartyGaming Plc., which floated for a value of £4.64 billion last year, earning its owners approximately £1 billion in the process.