The Board of the Guinness PRO14 has completed a significant strategic partnership investment with CVC Capital Partners taking a 28 per cent stake in the company.
The deal also involves the Italian Rugby Federation joining the Board and taking a share of the value from this deal.
CVC Capital will pay in the region of €140 million for the stake, of which the IRFU will benefit to the tune of a little over €30 million.
A portion of the investment will 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.
Martin Anayi, as CEO, will continue to lead the management team at PRO14 Rugby, working closely with CVC and the unions on execution of the commercial plan.
The unions will also remain independently responsible for the sporting and regulatory elements of the league, via the Sporting and Regulatory Committee.
In the past four years, the Guinness PRO14 has doubled the distributions it makes to clubs and facilitated record investment back into the sport from the league.
CVC Capital have previously invested in sport through Formula 1, Premiership Rugby in England and Moto GP.
“CVC’s show of faith in Rugby has been impressive and is in keeping with their proven track record of success when it comes to sports investment,” said Martin Anayi.
“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.”
Dominic McKay, Chairman of Celtic Rugby DAC and Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Rugby, added that “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.”
“Their enthusiasm and commitment is a welcome vote of confidence in the future of the sport and the Guinness PRO14 as an international competition. Completing this partnership with CVC is testament to the hard work invested by many people who have focused to deliver a bright vision for PRO14 and enable it to realise its commercial value in the global sports market.”