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Lucky Rory set for €2m windfall from boat firm

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Rory McIlroy with Caroline Wozniacki. Photo: David Cannon/Getty

Rory McIlroy with Caroline Wozniacki. Photo: David Cannon/Getty

Rory McIlroy with Caroline Wozniacki. Photo: David Cannon/Getty

GOLFER Rory McIlroy is set for a €2m windfall from his investment in an Irish-owned luxury yacht company.

McIlroy (24), currently ranked number two in the world, is a shareholder in the Dorset-based yacht maker Sunseeker.

The firm is being sold to Chinese investors for a 10-fold return.

 

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Although the money will be small pickings for McIlroy, who signed a €294m sponsorship deal with Nike last November, he will no doubt see it as a good omen ahead of the US Open next weekend.

The Holywood, Co Down, golfer was reported last December to have waived a €1.5m appearance fee for teeing off on the Montgomerie Course at Carton House during the Irish Open.

He is one of the major beneficiaries as Irish private equity group FL Partners prepares to sell the yacht firm to Chinese investors.

The firm's iconic speedboats have featured in James Bond films Quantum Of Solace and Casino Royale.

They have been used by the likes of actor Michael Douglas, reality TV music mogul Simon Cowell and Chelsea footballer John Terry.

Chinese company Dalian Wanda is understood to have tabled a £300m (€353m) bid for Sunseeker, which is Britain's largest luxury yacht maker and employs 2,500 people.

The business was acquired by Peter Crowley and Neil Hughes' private equity firm, FL Partners, in 2010 and secured backing from a number of high net worth individuals and businesses, including McIlroy, who is listed as a shareholder in Portofino Yacht Investments, the holding company which holds a 65pc chunk of Sunseeker.

He is likely to bag close to €2m from the buyout deal.

Other investors include Macquarie Bank, the Barry's Tea family and Stagecoach bus company executive Brian Souter.

FL Partners bought into Sunseeker back in 2010 as part of a €30m plus deal.

The sale is being seen as a massive success for FL Partners, which has also been involved in the €200m buyout of the Racing Post in 2007 as well as the €70m purchase of Kayfoam.

Wang Jianlin, the chairman and founder of Beijing-based Dalian Wanda, said "we bought the best yacht company in the UK".

The deal to buy Sunseeker is expected to be completed within the next three weeks.

mlavery@herald.ie


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