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Premiership Rugby sells minority stake to CVC in £200m partnership

The investment by CVC Capital Partners Fund VII into Premiership Rugby marks the start of a new era for English professional club rugby.

Twenty three years after rugby union turned professional, Premiership Rugby has signed an agreement for CVC Fund VII to invest in a minority shareholding equal to 27 per cent.

The investment is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2019 and represents the latest commitment by CVC to the sports, media and entertainment sector; a firm which has previously led investments in Moto GP, Formula One, Stage Entertainment and Merlin Entertainments.

“Around 18 months ago the Board endorsed a strategy to take club rugby to a new level,” said Premiership Rugby’s Chief Executive Mark McCafferty, who confirmed the investment deal was agreed unanimously by the Clubs.

“Since Premiership Rugby was formed in 1997, our owners have invested more than £400 million to build up the clubs and the competition which today sees the Gallagher Premiership broadcast in over 200 countries around the world. It was the perfect time for us to identify the right partner to help accelerate our next phase of growth.

“We are delighted to have partnered with CVC, a company which has a very impressive track record of helping to grow sports businesses such as Premiership Rugby. Further developing the global appeal and following for the Gallagher Premiership through investment in the product and fan experience is one of the main priorities for the partnership.”

Premiership Rugby has seen rapid growth over the last decade with commercial income rising by more than 80% in the past five years.

Ian Ritchie, the chairman of Premiership Rugby added: “We have agreed that the proceeds from CVC Fund VII’s investment will be re-invested to drive continued growth in the sport, for the benefit of the fans, clubs and players.

“The structure of the deal ensures that there is strong alignment of interest between CVC and the Premiership Rugby Clubs. CVC support our vision of growing the sport and we are looking forward to working closely with them to take Premiership Rugby to the next level.”

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