CVC Capital Partners look set to take a 14.5 per cent stake in the Six Nations in a move that could net the IRFU as much as €75m over the next five years.
According to French rugby newspaper ‘Midi Olympique’, World Rugby vice-chairman and FFR president Bernard Laporte told the French union’s general assembly on Saturday that the investment is imminent. Although previously the deal was reported to be worth €333m between the six unions involved, ‘Midi’ indicates that the figure may have risen to €450m over five years.
Having already taken a stake in the English Premiership and the Guinness PRO14, the investment firm were close to moving on the gleaming jewel in northern hemisphere rugby’s crown before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March and the unions put talks on hold.
It now looks like it will go through in the coming weeks in what will be a major boost to all six stakeholders reeling from rugby’s stoppage.
A Six Nations spokesperson said:
“Discussions with CVC are ongoing. We will not comment further at this stage based on the confidential nature of these discussions.”
The deal could have a knock-on effect for the IRFU’s hopes of securing agreement on a proposed 20 per cent pay cut with players.
After three weeks of talks, negotiations remain at an impasse. Rugby Players Ireland has engaged accountancy firm BDO to review the IRFU’s financial position to get a true picture of how things stand after revenue streams took a major hit when the sport was brought to a halt.
CVC’s investment in the PRO14 already netted the union €5.5m, the first tranche of a €33m sum it will receive over the next three years.
In return for its stake, the Luxembourg-based firm – which previously had a major interest in Formula One – would take control of the tournament’s commercial rights in the hope of increasing the value of broadcast and sponsorship agreements.