Empire Online, the company operating Empire Poker, Noble Poker and several online casinos, announced today it has received a large takeover bid from an undisclosed party, via the acquisition of all it's outstanding capital at 270p per share.
Empire Online was the first company to float on the London AIM stock market in June, and also recently acquired Noble Poker and several online casinos from the Club Dice group. The company was founded in 1997 by Noam Lanir.
A spokesman for Empire Online said the negotiations for the takeover were still in a very early stage, but the company was forced to announce the bid to the public due to a sharp rise in it's share price, which closed at 264p after surging to 274p earlier today.
The takeover bid once again illustrates online gaming and poker stocks are a hot commodity these days. PartyGaming is rumored to be behind the bid, though these rumors are not confirmed as of yet. PartyGaming is the biggest online gaming company and floated just after Empire Online a couple of months ago.
Many other online gaming companies are considering a flotation. Cassava Enterprises, the owner of Casino on Net, will float later this month, and other likely candidates are PokerStars, Ultimate Bet Poker and PokerRoom.com, to name a few.
Update: The Guardian reported that Sportingbet, the operator of Paradise Poker, might be the source of the takeover bid, potentially causing a bidding war between Sportingbet and PartyGaming for Empire's assets.