NZ Rugby gets mega-money investment offer

New Zealand Rugby has reportedly received an offer running into billions of dollars from a United States technology giant for a 15% share of commercial rights.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the offer has come from the American firm Silver Lake, which also in part owns Manchester City’s owner, City Football Group.

The offer, which requires the approval of New Zealand’s provincial rugby unions, would be the largest transaction in the country’s sports history.

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Silver Lake’s stake could range from 10 to 15% of commercial rights valued at $3.1 billion, with terms still to be finalised.

The report states that NZ Rugby and Silver Lake, one of the world’s leading technology investors, have been in talks for over nine months.

A decision is not expected to be taken before NZ Rugby’s annual general meeting in April. According to the Herald, the NZ Rugby Players’ Association, as well as former All Blacks and Black Ferns players and coaches will all be consulted.

The funds are planned to be used for investment in New Zealand’s provincial unions, as well as helping NZ Rugby recover from the $40m hit they took during the Covid-19 shutdown last year. The investment will also help NZ Rugby retain players and further invest in the community and women’s game.

The Herald report further states that NZ Rugby’s plans are to set up a subsidiary company, known as CommercialCo, which would take charge of maximising commercial rights and growing revenue streams such as streaming and esports. The CommercialCo board will comprise five members from NZ Rugby, two Silver Lake representatives and an independent chair.

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