NZ Rugby sells commercial rights to US company
April 29, 2021 1:29 pm
The provincial unions have voted in favor of New Zealand Rugby’s pitch to sell a stake to an American investor at today’s annual general meeting in Wellington.
New Zealand’s 26 provincial unions voted toiday on a recommendation from NZR that it should bundle its commercial interests into a new entity and sell a 12.5 percent stake in that entity to California-based Silver Lake Partners for $387.5 million.
The vote was carried vocally with all 26 saying “aye” and a quick silence filling the room when NZR chairman Brent Impey asked if anyone against wanted to say “no”.
The motion was then carried by Impey before applause erupted.
Impey thanked the unions for their support, saying “what you just did was incredibly significant so thank you”.
NZR officials have argued the sale is necessary to secure the future financial sustainability of rugby in New Zealand after the governing body’s finances were hit hard last year by the Covid-19 pandemic to the tune of a $34.6 million loss.
In documents presented at this morning’s annual meeting, NZR proposed transferring its commercial assets to a new company to be called Commercial LP and to transfer NZ$43.75 million from the sale price to that entity as operating capital.
A further NZ$39 million will be distributed to stakeholders, mainly the provincial unions, who are also cash-strapped after last year’s disrupted season.
NZR said it will also establish a legacy fund for “longer-term strategic initiatives to ensure the sustainability of all levels of rugby in New Zealand.”
Silver Lake Partners was launched in 1999 and has focused mainly on investment in the technology sector with holdings in companies such as Airbnb, Twitter and Dell Technologies.
It also holds a stake in City Football Group which owns the English Premier League club Manchester City and which it lists in its Content and Entertainment industry vertical.