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Rugby Australia Votes In Favour Of Private Equity

R
ugby Australia has voted in favour of securing a private equity deal, potentially brining large amounts of wealth into the sport, in what would be a landmark agreement.

It is unclear as to whether Rugby Australia would sell the Super Rugby section of the business, or if they would be putting the whole firm on-the-line.

Speaking to The Australian, Rugby Australia chairman, Hamish McLennan, said this has the potential to be one of the biggest deals in Australian sport.

“The Rugby Australia board met last week and has approved a pathway forward to private equity proposals,” McLennan said.

We are tidying up a few loose ends with potential advisers and this will have the potential to chart an incredibly exciting period for rugby in Australia,” he said.

Private equity talks have been very prominent across the Tasman, with New Zealand Rugby considering selling a 15% stake to United States investment company, Silver Lake.

There is potential for large amounts of wealth for Rugby Australia if the deal goes through, but potential private equity partners would most likely want to increase their value of share and then sell off, therefore leaving the sport without a long-term picture.

Andrew Forrest has been touted as a potential player in the process, with the Australian billionaire consistently campaigning for Western Australian rugby, especially in the aftermath of the culling of the Western Force in 2017, the team he supports.

McLennan said “has that twinkle in his eye and I am sure he will have a swing,” when he was asked about the potential of Forrest purchasing a share in Rugby Australia.

Private equity deals have become the norm in Europe, with CVC Capital Partners holding stakes in England’s top-flight and the Pro14 provincial competition, along with still being in talks with the Six Nations over a potential 14.5% share in the tournament.