US consortium eyes WP investment

WP Rugby has received an offer from a group of American investors looking to buy a controlling majority share in the Stormers for around R100 million.

According to a report by Independent Media, the offer has come from New York-based company MVM Holdings, headed by Marco Masotti, a Durban-raised lawyer who is recognised as one of the USA’s leading practitioners in private equity.

The consortium has reportedly submitted an offer to buy a 51% controlling interest in the Stormers. Of the $6m offer, $2m would go to the WPRFU board and $4m to the Stormers board.

However, Masotti told Independent Onlinethat a point of difference remains over the WPRFU wanting to keep control of the Stormers’ rugby affairs.

‘They want to keep control of rugby affairs and we could control the commercial affairs, but that wouldn’t work for us,’ Masotti said. ‘There needs to be one controller and the guys that are involved in this bid have extensive experience in enterprises of this kind – we are talking about owners of NBA and ice hockey teams.

‘The sport of rugby is stressed and needs change to survive and then flourish, and we see so much potential in Cape Town and the Stormers as a brand – they have iconic figures in an exciting team based in one of the world’s great cities,’ Masotti added. ‘We see great opportunities to link the Stormers with [USA basketball team] the Milwaukee Bucks and grow the brand in Europe and the States.’

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The issue of private investors buying into the South African rugby franchises has been raised after the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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