World Rugby Considering Private Equity Investment
orld Rugby CEO, Alan Gilpin, has confirmed to the Financial Times the organisation is engaged in investment discussions with private equity firms.
The report suggested private equity companies CVC Capital Partners and KKR are interested in acquiring a stake in the commercial rights for the Rugby World Cup.
The investments would also support World Rugby’s expansion efforts for a new women’s tournament beginning in 2023 and increased efforts towards the current international rugby sevens competitions.
The discussions follow other national rugby organisations such as Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby targeting similar private equity deals, after New Zealand Rugby accepted a $465 million agreement with Silver Lake.
Gilpin said World Rugby’s commercial properties would be worth ‘significantly more’ than the value other rugby governing bodies have received, with the Rugby World Cup generating 90% of World Rugby’s revenue.
“In the sport of rugby, the World Cup, for both men and women, is the premium property, so would demand the highest possible valuation,” Gilpin said.
“We’ve had good talks with potential investors in that regard,” he said.
Gilpin also confirmed the private equity discussions have been advised by bankers from Jefferies and Rothschild, as well as consultancy Oakwell Sports Advisory.
According to Gilpin, the global governing body hopes to leverage the appearance of rugby at the Olympic Games to engage new audiences, claiming rugby’s inclusion at the Olympics is a ‘game changer’ for the sport.