Kolisi coup a sign of things to come for Sharks

Siya Kolisi’s expected move to the Sharks is set to be the first trump card of the new partnership with American consortium MVM Holdings, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

When one looks at the listed names in the MVM consortium, there can be no doubting the influence and impact this multi-million dollar deal is set to have on the Sharks and South African rugby.

Headed by New York attorney Marco Masotti, MVM Holdings, in a matter of weeks, were able to complete an agreement to purchase a 51% majority stake in the Sharks. The franchise has still retained the shareholding of SuperSport to the tune of 23%, while the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union will hold the remaining 26%.

Masotti will have the support of Vincent Mai (chairman and CEO of Cranemere LLC), who hails from the Eastern Cape and has a strong bond with Kolisi.

Among Masotti’s partners is also Michael Yormark, the president of Roc Nation Sports International, who have Kolisi on their books.

Then there is also the clout of Marc Lasry (founder of Avenue Capital and owner of the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks team), Doug Cifu (CEO of Virtu Financial, Inc and owner of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers team), Robert D Haswell (founding partner of Dominus Capital) and Dominic Silvester (CEO of Enstar Group Limited).

The deal will give the Sharks the sort of financial muscle, if not more, than that enjoyed by the Vodacom Bulls, who are backed by billionaires Patrice Motsepe and Johann Rupert.

Any way you look at this, it is a massive financial and intellectual windfall for the Sharks, with MVM emphatically stating there is every desire to turn the Durban-based franchise into one of the premier teams and brands in world rugby.

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On Saturday this website will publish a full Q&A with Roc Nation’s Yormark, who outlined his vision for the Sharks. It’s ambitious and multi-faceted.

On the point of building an ‘incredible product’ of a winning team on the field, he had this to say: ‘Most importantly, the club has got to win. We have to be able to go out and recruit the best players and have the best players in the world represent the Sharks, on and off the field.

‘That’s a commitment this group has made. We understand that it will require investment and we are willing to make that investment because we believe that it will pay dividends in the future.’

It also speaks to Masotti’s assertion that there is a willingness to ‘spend money to make money’.

As it is, the ties between Kolisi and the consortium are clearly evident, and SARugbymag.co.za has reliably learned that there is emphatic substance to the swirling rumours that the Springbok and Stormers captain could be set to move to the Sharks.

It would be a massive coup for the Durban team, and another considerable indication that MVM truly means business with the Sharks.

Kolisi and several other senior Stormers players are under contract until effectively after the British & Irish Lions tour in July, and the 29-year-old is then set to complete his move to the Sharks.

In so many ways, WP Rugby’s loss is set to be the Sharks’ gain, and in particular this player acquisition will reverberate around world rugby circles.

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Craig Lewis