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The Board of the Guinness PRO14 has confirmed that they have completed a “significant strategic partnership investment” with CVC Capital Partners Fund VII (“CVC Fund VII”) that they say will “allow the league to work towards its full potential.”
Under this agreement, CVC Fund VII will acquire a 28 per cent share of PRO14 Rugby from Celtic Rugby DAC, the Unions will retain the 72 per cent majority share.
“The partnership commitment will allow both PRO14 Rugby and the Irish, Italian, Scottish & Welsh rugby unions to continue to invest in the sport, both professional and amateur, to achieve its potential over the long term,” a statement read.
A portion of the investment will also be held centrally at PRO14 Rugby, for the Board to invest in further capabilities for the business and in upgrading league operations in line with its growth ambitions.
As part of this agreement, the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR), will also become a member of Celtic Rugby DAC, and receive a share of the investment.
Martin Anayi, CEO, will continue to lead the management team at PRO14 Rugby. The unions will also remain independently responsible for the sporting and regulatory elements of the league, via the Sporting & Regulatory Committee.
“CVC was selected by PRO14 Rugby and the unions as their partner due to the extensive experience of prior CVC funds investing in multiple sports businesses, such as Formula 1, Moto GP and Premiership Rugby,” the statement added.
Dominic McKay, Chairman of Celtic Rugby DAC and Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Rugby, said:
“I am delighted that we have managed to welcome CVC into the Guinness PRO14 as our partner. As a Board, we have been ambitious in our outlook and have significantly developed the league in recent years. One of our key goals was to secure a strategic partner to help accelerate our plans and CVC bring a wealth of experience and great expertise in this regard.
“Sport, like all of society is dealing with major challenges currently that we could not have imagined just a few months ago, and it is testament to the strength of our partnership with CVC that they have committed to the game of rugby in a such a significant way.”
Martin Anayi, CEO of PRO14 Rugby, said:
“CVC’s show of faith has been impressive and is in keeping with their proven track record of success when it comes to sports investment, including Formula 1, Moto GP and Premiership Rugby. This partnership allows all of our stakeholders to plan for a sustainable period of growth, which will benefit the fans, the players and the game.
“We are very pleased to partner with CVC, who saw us as an ambitious, fast-paced and innovative organisation, situated across a number of core rugby nations that can deliver an increasing impact.
“We have been clear that we believe the Guinness PRO14 is a world-class club league, that is still in its growth phase and we are confident that it will become a major standard-bearer in our sport. 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.”