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Teddy Sagi, the Israeli billionaire who founded and owns almost half of online gaming group Playtech, is poised to float his second company in London with an initial public offering of Genesis Energy.
The Middle East focused gas explorer, which is 40 per cent owned by Mr Sagi, hopes to raise $90m-$120m through the IPO, valuing the group’s equity at as much as £500m.
Genesis Energy has mandated Canaccord Genuity to handle the IPO and a roadshow is expected to be held in the next few weeks. The company hopes to join Aim, London’s junior market, in the third quarter of 2012.
The gas explorer declined to comment on the IPO, other than to say that arrangements for the London listing were at a preliminary stage.
If successful, the IPO would be the largest on Aim this year, beating the £17m raised in May by Incadea
, a German-based provider of software for car dealerships.
However, the environment for Aim IPOs has been tough of late, with Alufer Mining recently aborting plans for a $40m fundraising and Rare Earths Global of China only managing to raise $10m, compared with an initial upper target of $50m.
Genesis Energy, which is also backed by the Israel Opportunity Fund, the investment group, holds interests in seven offshore licences in the Levantine Basin in the Mediterranean Sea between Cyprus and Israel.
The eastern Mediterranean caught the energy world’s attention in 2010 when Noble Energy, a Texan company, announced that the Leviathan field, adjacent to Aphrodite and lying in Israeli waters, contained significant hydrocarbon reserves.
According to the US Geological Survey, the natural gas deposits in the Levant Basin – a region adjoining Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and Syria – may contain as much as 120tn cubic feet of recoverable gas, equivalent to 20bn barrels of oil.
However, the discovery of such vast reserves has led to political squabbling between the region’s powers, with Israel and Cyprus already staking their claims in an effort to cut their reliance on gas imports.
Mr Sagi, a flamboyant figure in the business world, brought Isle of Man-based Playtech to market in March 2006 when the online gaming group joined Aim at 257p per share, raising about £265m gross.
Some analysts expect Playtech to join the main list this year. In June, Playtech agreed to pay Mr Sagi nearly £5.6m per year for the licences to use software for online social gaming and traditional gambling activities such as online casino, poker and bingo.
Late last year, Mr Sagi raised his shareholding in the online gambling software provider to 43.7 per cent after underwriting a £100m Playtech share placing to fund new acquisitions.