American private equity firm Silver Lake is in advanced negotiations to buy a 15% stake in New Zealand Rugby in mega-deal valued roughly at $2 billion.
Talks between the two have been on for months and Sky News report in Britain, says the deal could be sealed this month.
Silver Lake, which part-owns Manchester City’s owner City Football Group, and is known as one of the world’s leading technology investors. Silver Lake was also part of a consortium which took control of UFC, the Mixed Martial Arts franchise, in 2016.
“If completed, it would be the latest – and arguably most prominent – example of a major sports-rights owner seeking to raise capital after a year in which the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the global sporting schedule,” Sky News reported.
“‘Silver Lake is understood to have been vying with a number of rival private-equity investors to secure the deal during a process run by Jefferies, the investment bank.”
In 2020, New Zealand’s Herald revealed NZ Rugby’s landmark negotiations with Silver Lake after the realisation that NZ Rugby’s financial model could no longer rely solely on the All Blacks to fund the game.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Mark Robinson revealed to the publication in November 2020 that body had burned through 47% of its NZ$86m (£44m) cash reserves in 2020.
NZR was on track to earn revenue of NZ$100m when the sport was suspended during a national lockdown.