Marco Masotti says he intends to ‘spend money to make money’ following MVM Holdings’ majority-share acquisition in the Sharks franchise.
It was confirmed on Thursday that US consortium MVM Holdings, headed by the South African-born Masotti, bought a controlling share in the Durban franchise, after its initial bid to buy into the Stormers/Western Province Rugby came to nothing.
Masotti, a life-long Sharks fan based in New York but who grew up in Amanzimtoti, is adamant his expertise as a pre-eminent adviser to international asset management firms has enabled him to put together a group of investors who share the vision and expertise to ensure the continued growth of the Sharks franchise.
‘The Sharks have a deep and wonderful history that can translate into a formidable global rugby brand,’ he said. ‘Our investment is designed to facilitate the expansion of the franchise through deep relationships with business people, financing sources and other sporting codes.
‘We believe that rugby provides a unique platform for character and community building. We intend to shine a global light on the city of Durban and create opportunities for players from diverse backgrounds to become international stars.
‘The response from Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee was incredible,’ Masotti added. ‘The deal was concluded very quickly. What impressed us is that the Sharks are open-minded and hungry to embrace change and grow into the future, and we have so many exciting plans for developing the brand and growing the sport. Think big and outside of the box!’
Masotti then outlined his plans for the Sharks: ‘But we will start with community building. The relationship between one of our investors in Vincent Kai [formerly of the Eastern Cape and now an investment tycoon in the USA] and Siya Kolisi is a special one. While we are obviously going to be based in Durban, we regard growing rugby in the Eastern Cape as a priority.’
Brian van Zyl, the newly elected president of the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union, expressed confidence that the partnership has come at the right time and with the right partners for the Sharks:
‘In all our dealings with Marco Masotti, it was abundantly clear that his consortium, together with SuperSport, will bring not only greater commercial savviness but also international ties that will result in the Sharks becoming one of the most recognised global sports brands,’ he explained.