'Second Life' publisher open to IPO or sale

One of the biggest questions historically revolving around the virtual world "" and its publisher, Linden Lab, has been how long the company would stay independent.

Since the company's 2003 launch, it has been privately held and backed by investors including Lotus founder Mitch Kapor, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

But as Linden Lab has grown, any number of rumors have circulated involving takeovers by companies like Google and Microsoft. All the while, Linden Lab has said it intends to stay solo. Indeed, CEO Philip Rosedale has told CNET News.com on multiple occasions that he has no intentions to sell, nor would such a move be in the company's, or its community's, best interests.

And that may well be true.

But in an article published Friday in the U.K.'s Times Online, David Fleck, Linden Lab vice president of marketing, indicated that such sentiments may not always stay true.

"We're open to an IPO or a sale, whenever that occurs," Fleck told Times Online. "But there's no rush."

Of course, this very well might have just been a throwaway line in a long interview. But it's very interesting to note that Linden Lab brass is willing to be quoted as saying such a thing.


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