DONE DEAL: Six Nations and CVC concludes deal after 18 months
SPOTLIGHT: Six Nations Rugby has agreed to sell a stake in the tournament to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners in a five-year deal.
Six Nations released a statement confirming the new partnership between the official organising body and CVC Capital.
According to the statement, the objective of the partnership is to invest to grow and develop the game; to further enhance the sporting spectacle of all the tournaments, the teams and the brands; and to build the data, technology, and broader commercial capabilities to support these ambitious plans. These steps will ensure continued development of these prestigious tournaments for the benefit of existing fans, and to attract a new more diverse and global fan base, which will support the wider rugby community, including the players, clubs, and unions, to achieve their full potential over the long-term.
Under the terms of the agreement, the six unions will retain sole responsibility for all sporting matters as well as majority control of commercial decisions. The CVC Fund VII investment into Six Nations Rugby will be paid to the six unions over a period of five years, reflecting the long-term nature of the partnership. This capital investment, combined with the expected growth of the tournaments, will help the unions to support the development of rugby at all levels in their respective territories over the years ahead.
It has been reported that the deal is understood to be worth in the region of £365 million for a 1/7th share in Six Nations Rugby, working alongside the rugby unions of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland & Wales, which will together retain a 6/7th share.
This means a £95m windfall for the RFU.
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Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby commented, “This is a hugely positive development and I want to express my thanks to all parties involved. In particular, our six unions and federations, for the strong sense of unity and collaboration they have shown throughout this process to create a unified Six Nations Rugby and agree the partnership with CVC.”
“The Six Nations Championship is steeped in rugby tradition, stretching back to 1883, and together with the Women’s, Under-20’s and International series, is synonymous with all the excitement, passion and competitiveness that rugby has to offer. This external investment is an important validation of what Six Nations Rugby has achieved to date and is a key next step as we invest to grow the game on the world stage.”
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Commenting on the deal IRFU CEO Philip Browne said: “The new partnership is very positive news for Irish rugby. If the agreement obtains approval CVC will acquire, over five years, a 1/7th share of the Six Nations tournament.
“Importantly, under the agreement, Unions retain complete control of all sporting matters while all commercial and broadcast decisions, which will benefit from CVC’s commercial and marketing expertise, also requires majority Union approval,”
*Also read: Deal done by end of January
He added: “This deal demonstrates the strength and attraction of the Six Nations Championship, of which Ireland is an integral part, and yet, ironically it serves to highlight the extremely precarious financial situation in which the IRFU currently finds itself because of the Covid pandemic. Put in context, today’s announcement comes against the backdrop of record losses for the IRFU in 19/20 of some €36m and similar ongoing significant revenue losses expected this year. In real terms the initial funds received from this deal will simply deliver the funding required to keep Irish rugby going for little more than a month.
“The real benefit of this agreement will come into effect in future years. As normality resumes, with fans returning to our stadia in significant numbers and clubs and schools recommencing play, we can look forward to investing funds from this CVC deal into the development of our game, from grassroots up to the elite levels for men and women.
“In welcoming CVC to the Six Nations, it would be remiss of me not to mention the on-going support of our sponsors, our patrons, including our ten- and five-year ticketholders, and the vital support we receive from the government. This has been critical to our survival through these torrid times and I thank them all for their long-term commitment to our great game.”