New Zealand Rugby votes in favour of selling stake to US equity firm

The All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby are set for a mammoth private equity injection after a historic vote to sell a minority share in the game’s commercial interests. On Thursday in Wellington, New Zealand’s provincial rugby unions voted at the governing body’s annual general meeting to sell a 12.5 per cent stake to US […]

New Zealand Rugby votes in favour of selling stake to US equity firm

The All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby are set for a mammoth private equity injection after a historic vote to sell a minority share in the game’s commercial interests.

On Thursday in Wellington, New Zealand’s provincial rugby unions voted at the governing body’s annual general meeting to sell a 12.5 per cent stake to US equity firm for $NZ387 million ($A360 million).

Chairman Brent Impey thanked voters, saying “what you just did was incredibly significant”.

If ratified, it would mark the first time in the All Blacks’ 115-year history it has not been completely owned by New Zealanders.

One hurdle remains: the support of players.

The Rugby Players Association (RPA) is yet to okay the deal with concerns from high-profile players including All Blacks captain Sam Cane on a number of fronts.

They have expressed a fear of a commercialisation of sacred team symbols – includng the haka – and an increased demand to play exhibition games to make money and brand exposure.

Where all agree is the need for investment: growth, both locally and globally, is stagnant.

“New Zealand Rugby needs investment,” Auckland University of Technology senior lecturer Richard Wright told Radio NZ.

“Why? Because other people are not investing as much in rugby as much as they used to do and that includes New Zealanders.”

Silver Lake has a portfolio of stakes in clubs around the world; the UFC, the English Premier League’s Manchester City, A-League’s Melbourne City and the NBA’s New York Knicks included.

“They’re investment bankers. They would have done their due diligence. They’re not mugs,” Wright said.

“The All Blacks played six times last year. The most they might play this year is 15 times.

“To get that return on investment, they’re going to want to see the All Blacks playing and the ABs brand as much as possible.”

Speaking prior to the vote, Black Fern turned politician Louisa Wall said the game needed to support the grassroots.

“It’s been pretty obvious for a few years now that NZR needs revenue streams,” she told Radio NZ.

“We need the infrastructure. We take for granted we can play rugby. We need human resources. We need the grounds, the clubs.

“From my perspective it’s a no brainer. We have to do it.”

The unanimous vote at the AGM will put pressure on RPA boss Rob Nichol to come to the table in support.

Source : The Roar More   

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Brumbies’ Slipper wary of familiar Force

James Slipper always tipped the Western Force to be there at the pointy end of the Super Rugby AU season so the Brumbies’ prop is well aware of the threat they’ll pose in Saturday’s semi-final. The defending champions comfortably beat the Force in both their previous games this season but will clash with a confidence-stocked […]

Brumbies’ Slipper wary of familiar Force

James Slipper always tipped the Western Force to be there at the pointy end of the Super Rugby AU season so the Brumbies’ prop is well aware of the threat they’ll pose in Saturday’s semi-final.

The defending champions comfortably beat the Force in both their previous games this season but will clash with a confidence-stocked side in Canberra to decide who meets the Queensland Reds in the decider.

The Force have won their previous three games by one, one and three points respectively, toppling the Reds last weekend to sneak into third to complete a remarkable return to the Australian landscape.

“At the start of the year I had them making the finals … it was all about them gelling and building those combinations,” said Slipper, who returns to the starting side this Saturday.

“A slow start for them but coming good now; they knocked off the Reds so they’re a serious threat and we’re preparing that way.”

He’ll lock horns with 37-year-old former teammate Greg Holmes, who has bolstered the Force scrum to complement a threatening backline led by Argentine halfback Tomas Cubelli.

“My old mate Greg Holmes is still kicking along which is good to see,” Slipper said of his former Queensland Reds teammate.

“I always know if he’s still playing I have a few good years still in me, that’s one good thing about Holmesy.

“There’s quality there and it sets up a good battle up front.”

Nic White, Pete Samu and Irae Simone are also back in the starting line-up for the must-win game, while ball-winning backrower Luke Reimer could make his Super Rugby debut off the bench.

Source : The Roar More   

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