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CVC buys 28% stake in Pro14 Rugby in €140 million deal

Along with the deal, the Italian federation will become a member of Celtic Rugby DAC.

Image: Dougie Allward/INPHO

THE GUINNESS PRO14 today confirmed that investment firm CVC has taken up a 28% share of the company running the competition, Pro14 Rugby, with the participating European unions owning the remaining 72%.

The deal, reportedly worth €140 million when it was agreed last year, has also brought Italy’s union (FIR) in as member of Celtic Rugby DAC after a decade of participation in the tournament.

CVC has given high profile cash injection to Premiership Rugby, in which it acquired a 27% stake,  and has been linked with a major investment to take hold of 14% of the Six Nations.

This deal will only enhance their influence across European rugby, but CVC has already assured the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) that they will proactively notify flag any deal to acquire commercial rights of the Six Nations.

This morning’s statement by the Pro14 says that the investment will ‘allow the league to work towards its full potential – for the benefit of fans, players, clubs and unions in these key rugby nations over the years ahead.’

The statement outlines that a portion of the investment will be held centrally to improve operations within the organisation, while individual unions will invest in their own programmes for growth.

“As a Board, we have been ambitious in our outlook and have significantly developed the league in recent years. One of our key goals was to secure a strategic partner to help accelerate our plans and CVC bring a wealth of experience and great expertise in this regard,” says Celtic Rugby DAC chairman Dominic McKay.

“Sport, like all of society is dealing with major challenges currently that we could not have imagined just a few months ago, and it is testament to the strength of our partnership with CVC that they have committed to the game of rugby in a such a significant way.”

Pro14 Rugby CEO Martin Anayi said:

“We believe the Guinness PRO14 is a world-class club league, that is still in its growth phase and we are confident that it will become a major standard bearer in our sport. We are excited that CVC clearly shares that ambition and we look forward to working with them to deliver on the league’s promise in the years ahead.”

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Sean Farrell

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