New Zealand Rugby has been given the green light by its Provincial Unions to finalise a private equity deal that will see US investment firm Silver Lake take a 12.5 percent stake in the game.

The landmark deal would see Silver Lake inject a little over €230 million into the sport with a large portion of the money earmarked for rugby’s grassroots.\

The final stage of approval will now be with the New Zealand Rugby Players Association.

New Zealand Rugby reported an operating loss of €11.2 million for the last year as well as a write down on the value of shares in Sky New Zealand media company of a further €9.5 million.

“We are thrilled that our Provincial Unions and the Māori Rugby Board have recognised the importance of private equity in driving commercial revenue and enabling investment to ensure rugby thrives and survives into the future,” said New Zealand Rugby Chair Brent Impey, speaking at yesterday’s AGM .

“Today’s vote for Silver Lake represents a transformational opportunity for our game and one we must grasp.”

“The game has to change, and Silver Lake’s capital injection would allow us to re-imagine rugby and invest in the areas of the community game that need it most, particularly teenage and women’s rugby, and to create better and more engaging experiences for our fans.”

“Private equity would provide the impetus for us to water the grassroots and resource the areas most in need at our clubs and Provincial Unions. It’s an exciting time to be involved,” added CEO Mark Robinson.

If it goes through this will be the latest in a growing chain of private investment in rugby with the English Premierahip, Pro14 and Six Nations Rugby all taking on investment over the past year.

 

Sport for Business Partners