New Zealand Rugby has reportedly opened talks with a multi-billion-dollar American investment firm about a potential game-changing partnership.
According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, NZR has held high-level talks with at least two private-equity firms – Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners, which already has a significant stake in northern-hemisphere rugby, and private-equity giants Silver Lake, whose sports portfolio already includes global cash machine the UFC.
Should Silver Lake buy a stake in NZR, equity could potentially even give the union the leverage to break free from World Rugby.
The firm has offices in New York, Silicon Valley, London and Hong Kong and manages US$40 billion (NZ$60b) in assets, while its portfolio generates more than $200b revenue annually. Its reputation as a major player was established with lucrative investments in internet phone provider Skype and chip maker Broadcom.
More recently, it diversified into the sports and entertainment sector, including global mixed martial arts phenomenon the UFC, Madison Square Garden Company, which owns blue-chip NBA franchise the New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers, and City Football Group, whose flagship team is defending English Premier League champions Manchester City.
‘You would set up a subsidiary company of NZ Rugby and get investment into that company in some form of partnership,’ the source told the Herald. ‘You put commercial assets into that company — whether that’s in combination with Sanzaar partners and something like Super Rugby in its reincarnated form, or the Rugby Championship.’
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