All Blacks

US firm Silver Lake in talks with NZ Rugby

Rugby in New Zealand could be set for a major cash injection, as an American private equity firm holds talks over new investment.

After CVC has gradually expanded its influence in northern hemisphere, Silver Lake now appear to be on the brink of becoming a major player south of the equator with an initial 15 per cent stake in NZ Rugby’s commercial arm – valued at $2bn (£1.47bn).

NZ Rugby, the governing body for the All Blacks, provincial rugby and the grassroots in New Zealand, last year forecasted a decline in revenue of up to 70 per cent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A deal would bring much relief to New Zealand after the halting of rugby calendar for the All Blacks until The Rugby Championship was able to be facilitated late in 2020.

One source within NZ Rugby told the New Zealand Herald: “We’ve got to get revenue streams and we can’t afford to fund those ourselves.

“Certainly at the Super Rugby level, our financial model there is under huge pressure, both the competition and our teams. We’re grossly under-capitalised. That’s a critical area.”

Silver Lake’s interest comes at a time when a £300m deal between CVC and the Six Nations is close to being concluded.

The Luxembourg-based investment firm, which formerly owned Formula 1, has acquired minority stakes in Premiership Rugby and PRO14 and could have already wrapped up a deal with the Six Nations but for the pandemic off-setting developments.

The Financial Times is reporting that CVC would be open to working with Silver Lake on common goals to radically monetise rugby’s presence around the world.