• Premiership backers to target Test rugby

    The English Premiership’s new billionaire investors will reportedly use their deal as a launchpad for a commercial takeover of rugby at international level.

    According to a report in the Daily Mail, leading European private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has its sights set on the Test game – in a commercial takeover similar to the sensational acquisition of Formula One in late 2005.

    CVC has agreed to pay £200-million (R3.5-billion) for a 27% stake in Premiership Rugby, with top clubs effectively handing over control of their commercial operations.

    Though this has led to growing tension between the RFU and clubs over the proposed scrapping of relegation from the Premiership competition, among other issues, CVC is confident of ultimately obtaining a controlling stake in international rugby.

    This would be achieved through a ‘shake-up of broadcasting rights’, the Daily Mail reported.

    CVC was the majority owner of F1 between 2006 and 2017. The firm is believed to have made more than £4-billion (R71-billion) from its time in charge, moving the broadcast rights from free-to-air to Sky Sports, and aggressively overhauling the sport’s sponsorship model.

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