WP want decisive talks over MVM investment

Western Province Rugby chairman Ebrahim Rasool has confirmed that the union is planning to hold ‘decisive’ talks with MVM Holdings in November. DYLAN JACK reports.

Rasool and WP Rugby president Zelt Marais were addressing the media in an online conference on Wednesday following the resignation of two sponsorship directors from the board of Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

The briefing was essentially an attempt for the WP Rugby president and chairman to provide clarity in a number of issues that have been going on behind the scenes at the union.

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In July, news emerged that New York-based lawyer Marco Masotti – along with other potential co-investors – had expressed a keen interest in buying a controlling stake in WP Rugby’s business wing.

He is primarily leading an expression of interest to invest about $6 million (almost R100m) in WP Rugby – $4m in the business wing (which contracts the Stormers players, for example) and $2m in the union’s amateur arm.

The possibility of a deal with Masotti would be expected to provide a much-needed financial boost, particularly when it comes to securing the future of top players at the Stormers, many of whom are said to be advocating for the deal to go ahead in order to provide some future job security.

In a previous interview with SARugbymag.co.za, Masotti made no secret of the fact that a ‘deal-breaker’ element of his investment consideration revolved around the desire for a controlling stake. However, this is thought to be a sticking point from the perspective of the Western Province leadership.

READ: Why ‘control’ is key for WPRFU investment

During the media briefing on Wednesday, WP chairman Rasool provided an update on the progress of the deal with MVM Holdings.

‘In terms of the Masotti – or the MVM – proposal, we want to say I have been instructed as chair that we write to MVM to say that we know that there is a possibility that Mr Masotti will be in South Africa in November. We would like to meet with him, but we want that to be a decisive meeting which says yay or nay.

‘Secondly, in order to prepare for that meeting, I will write to Mr Masotti and ask him to give us three things in documentation form. The one would be to put the financial proposal on the table in clear terms so that we can separate the chaff from the wheat.

‘We are saying give us the strategy you have spoken about that adds value to the franchise. Thirdly, tell us who the consortium is, so that we can commence with the due diligence.

‘If we do this all within the next few days or weeks, we will be able to come to a definitive decision.

‘What has ended with Masotti, is the [45-day] exclusivity period. But the conversation is still going on and needs to move to the next level. We will request those documents in writing so that we can have the conversation in a decisive way when Mr Masotti is in Cape Town, or even electronically if needs be.’

It appears strange that Western Province has been in exclusive talks with MVM Holdings for the last couple of months and yet still claim that they don’t have the basic documentation that they need to commence with due diligence.

However, what is clear is that the potential deal is set to enter its endgame.

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Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

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Dylan Jack