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CVC seeks £500m stake in Six Nations rugby Private equity group’s bid follows move in December into English club tournament CVC’s bid for the Six Nations is a natural extension of its strategy to invest in the sport © AP Save Print this page
CVC Capital Partners has made a £500m bid to acquire a minority stake in the Six Nations, the international rugby union tournament, as the private equity group seeks further investments that would give it a grip over the sport’s financial future.
The Luxembourg-based buyout firm made the offer this week, according to two people familiar with the talks, spotting an opportunity to become a leading financial player in the development of rugby union worldwide.
The move follows CVC’s acquisition in December of a 27 per stake in the commercial arm of Premiership Rugby, the top tier of English club rugby.
According to people familiar with the terms, CVC offered £500m to acquire a 30 per cent share in the commercial operations behind the Six Nations Championship — the annual tournament played between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy — as well as the autumn internationals, a series of one-off matches hosted by those countries against other leading teams.
The people added CVC’s move remained in its early stages and it was unclear if the transaction would proceed.
The offer comes at a critical moment for the sport, as the Six Nations holds talks this week with World Rugby, the sport’s international governing body, about joining its proposed 12-team “Nations League” tournament.
World Rugby’s plan is to amalgamate the fragmented global rugby calendar around a single annual competition that would have the Six Nations regularly play those involved in the southern hemisphere’s “Rugby Championship”— New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
World Rugby wants to collectively sell the broadcast and commercial rights for the enlarged competition, believing it can increase revenues for all nations involved, rather than if they continued to play in separate competitions.
CVC’s bid for commercial rights for the Six Nations Championship would provide an alternative cash injection to the northern hemisphere teams and could serve to scupper World Rugby’s plans.
CVC and the Six Nations declined to comment. The talks were first reported by The Times .
CVC’s bid for the Six Nations is a natural extension of its strategy to invest in the sport, with the private equity group believing it can provide the financial firepower and corporate knowhow to derive better sponsorship and broadcast deals for the game.
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