Pro14 sells a 28% stake to CVC

Ruben Hill
May 24, 2020

CVC has given high profile cash injection to Premiership Rugby, in which it acquired a 27% stake, and has been linked with a major investment to take hold of 14% of the Six Nations.

The firm tapped its $18bn Fund VII to buyout the stake from Celtic Rugby DAC.

The PRO 14, which was owned equally by the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Rugby Unions, consists of groups from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and South Africa.

CVC Capital was reported final 12 months to be on the point of buying a stake within the Six Nations. He said the deal will be worth over €33 million to the IRFU, with a payment of €5.5 million euro expected today.

It added that it selected CVC as its partner due to its "extensive experience" investing in sports businesses including Formula 1, Moto GP and Premiership Rugby.

"Based on these protocols, we have target dates of August 22 and 23 for a return to play with the staging of Guinness PRO14 derby fixtures between the provinces at the Aviva Stadium behind closed doors as part of the completion of the Guinness PRO14 2019/20 season".

Finally IRFU have stated they hope to resume action towards the end of August.

Those inter-pro games would mark a return for for professional rugby in Ireland, with the fixtures part of the Guinness PRO14 campaign on a weekend where the league hopes for local clashes to be played across the competition.

The deal will bring major investment, believed to be about £120m, that will benefit the Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian Rugby Unions that form Celtic Rugby DAC, which runs the league.

"We are also delighted that the Federazione Italiana Rugby has now joined Celtic Rugby DAC as a shareholder after 10 years of participation in the league".

Along with CVC's proposal to acquire 20 per cent of a new company that manages the broadcast rights, Serie A's global trademark and commercial development, CVC would also part finance a new investment fund responsible for driving the stadium development, several sources briefed on the plans told the Financial Times.

PRO14 say a portion of the investment will also be held centrally for the Board to invest in further capabilities for the business and in upgrading league operations in line with its growth ambitions.

He said the expectation is that new Pro 14 season would begin in early October.

Following CVC's investment, Martin Anayi will retain his role as chief executive of Pro14 Rugby while the four member unions will remain independently responsible for the sporting and regulatory elements of the league.

"We are excited that CVC clearly shares that ambition and we look forward to working with them to deliver on the league's promise in the years ahead".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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