REVEALED: The people and details behind the new Stormers equity deal
SPOTLIGHT: It didn’t take long for details of the new equity deal, on the table of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, to emerge.
It was confirmed in a media statement – and also in a notice sent out to clubs – that the General Council will meet on Wednesday, August 30 and again on September 6.
The only point on the agenda for the Wednesday (August 30) meeting is the presentation of – as the media release stated – a ‘ground-breaking equity deal’ to the union’s primary club stakeholders.
The proposed deal with Red Disa Investment comes after several cataclysmic years in the boardroom that left the WPRFU on the brink of financial ruin and forced the South African Rugby Union to step in and place the union under administration.
After a couple of false starts in the past two years – since SARU placed WPRFU under administration in terms of Section 29.5 of the SARU Constitution in October 2021 – the proposal on the table is meant to bring stability to the boardroom affairs of the union and company (Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd).
@rugby365com can now reveal who the people are behind the equity partner(s) – Red Disa Investments (Pty) Ltd and Marble Head Investments (Pty) Ltd.
According to the documents that will be tabled at Wednesday’s GC meeting – and voted on at a subsequent GC meeting on September 6 – Red Disa is owned 50 percent by Fynbos Ekwiteit (Pty) Ltd and 50 percent by Ardagh Glass Packaging Group Africa (Pty) Ltd.
The Ardagh Group, which successfully concluded a strategic acquisition of Consol Glass, has the backing of the Stellenbosch-based Le Roux family – father Michiel Le Roux and son Johan le Roux. Johan is, reportedly the group’s representative in the equity talks.
The Ardagh group operates 63 metal and glass production facilities in 16 countries, employing more than 20,000 people with sales of more than US$9bn (ZAR167-billion).
Much less is known about Fynbos, also a company with strong Western Cape ties.
However, the name James Mason pops up as a Director in a search of Red Disa company details. His LinkedIn profile lists his skills as ‘investments, private equity and hedge funds’.
The Marble Head Investments (Pty) Ltd link is an interesting one.
The name André van der Veen appears as a director.
Van der Veen, a well-heeled and respected businessman, was at the heart of many of the Newlands boardroom skirmishes before his departure as an independent director of the board of the troubled WPPR in 2020.
His association with American lawyer Marco V Masotti was listed by his critics as ‘problematical’ at the time.
Van der Veen, in a wide-ranging interview with @rugby365com at the time, made it clear that he had no financial interest in the Masotti consortium – which has subsequently become a majority shareholder of the Sharks.
The Marble Head Investments share will be minimal – just 2.5 percent of the company, WPPR.
Red Disa Investments will obtain 71.5 percent and WPRFU will have 26 percent shares of WPPR.
@rugby365com can reveal that 14 ‘expressions of interest’ were received by SARU – to invest as equity partners in WPPR.
However, almost all the interested parties withdrew from the process at various stages.
At the end of the process (December 2022), WPPR was left with just one bidder.
In documents to be submitted at Wednesday’s initial meeting, SARU, acting in its capacity as Administrator, will suggest that accepting the Red Disa offer is in the best interests of WPPR and WPRFU.
The possible sale of WPRFU properties and the litigation between WPRFU and Flyt/Dreamworld remain the subject of ongoing negotiation.
The price for the 74 percent share in the company (WPPR) is ZAR148-million.
ZAR40-million will be paid to WPRFU to settle the WPRFU loan and ZAR108-million will be used to recapitalise WPPR’s balance sheet for the working capital and operating expense requirements of WPPR.
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