Sat 7 Nov 2020 | 03:30

WPRFU: American deal approaching D-Day

WPRFU: American deal approaching D-Day
Sat 7 Nov 2020 | 03:30
WPRFU: American deal approaching D-Day
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ONGOING SAGA: D-Day for a decision on the proposed investment by American lawyer Marco V Masotti’s consortium is fast approaching.

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Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais and Ebrahim Rasool, newly appointed Chairman of the board of Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd – the commercial arm of WPRFU – have both punted a November visit by Masotti as key to the possible approval of the deal.

Masotti, the South African-born-and-bred American lawyer, is the face of the American consortium MVM Holdings that is negotiating with WPRFU for a controlling share in WPPR.

@rugby365com can reveal that Masotti WILL arrive in Cape Town in mid-November and is set to meet with Marais during that period.

Marais and Rasool both portrayed the ‘face-to-face’ council as a “decisive” meeting that will decide ‘yea or nay’ for the deal.

Rasool, a statement he reiterated in a webinar with the United Coalition for Sport and Community Based Organizations, said they require certain documents ahead of the meeting.

“The one would be to put the financial proposal on the table in clear terms so that we can separate the chaff from the wheat,” Rasool said.

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“We are saying give us the strategy you have spoken about that adds value to the franchise.

“Thirdly, tell us who the consortium is, so that we can commence with the due diligence.

“If we do this all within the next few days or weeks, we will be able to come to a definitive decision.”

It is believed there has been some communication between Marais, Rasool and Masotti.

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The meeting later this month will be telling.

Insiders believe WPRFU and WPPR are employing delaying tactics, as they are having second thoughts.

Given the emphasis and value that Marais and Rasool placed on the ‘face-to-face’ meeting, it would be interesting to see if there is any movement on their part.

In a virtual media briefing last month Marais and Rasool were both defiant in their stance that they do not need to rush into a decision with any potential equity partner.

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They both pointed to the rich playing and property resources as a reason why WPRFU is more stable than most unions and franchises around the world.

Masotti, in turn, would most likely have asked for some information of his own.

The question is: Did WPRFU/WPPR provide any ‘financial diligence’?

It will be hard for any investor/equity partner to get a deal across the line without knowing the real numbers.

Those are the issues that need to be on the table well in advance of the face-to-face meeting later this month.

As Rasool said, on at least two occasions, they will ask for info from Masotti in writing.

@rugby365com is aware of ‘communications’ between the two parties, but the details of said communiqués have not been made public.

The big issue remains control of the company, WPPR.

Marais and Rasool made it clear in last month’s media briefing they are not willing to relinquish jurisdiction and Masotti has been equally firm in his view that the consortium requires at least 51 percent of the venture.

The Masotti get-together is not the only issue headlining the Newlands boardroom.

Rasool caused a big stir with his recent suggestion that the agreement for the redevelopment of the Newlands and Brookside properties is NOT a done deal.

Rasool told a local webinar that the redevelopment agreement with Flyt and negotiations with American consortium MVM are “ongoing matters”.

As he did in that virtual media briefing, while flanked by Marais, the silver-tongued former ambassador painted a picture of financial bliss.

He also spoke of the “unlocking of assets on many fronts”.

Marais, in the same media briefing, was adamant that they have “sufficient cash flow” in the short to medium term.

However, it was Rasool’s claim – made in a media briefing and repeated in a webinar – that the Flyt deal is not set in stone that elicited a firm response from the property developer.

Rasool, in the webinar with UCSCBO, was adamant that the Flyt deal will be taken back to the lawyers.

“We will have our lawyers examine the Flyt proposal, regarding Newlands or other properties,” Rasool told the webinar.

“Again, [we will] subject it to due diligence.

“If it flies, it flies. If it doesn’t, we will look for a better deal from them or alternatives to them.

“That is the only way we can go forward.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

Also worth reading …

Flyt stands firm in face of Rasool claims
WPRFU don’t want just ‘warm words and promises’
More ‘women and black people’ for WPRFU
Another WPRFU deal gone south?
Nothing ‘clandestine’ about Masotti meetings
‘The Titanic has hit an iceberg’
The ‘smarts and savvy’ that WPRFU needs?

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