The Guinness Pro14 has confirmed that a deal for CVC Capital Partners to purchase 28% of Celtic Rugby DAC which organise the league.
No figure has been confirmed but reports suggest the investment is around £120m from the private equity and investment firm who already have a stake in the Gallagher Premiership and continue to be interested in purchasing a stake in the Six Nations.
As part of the agreement the Italian Federation have become a member of Celtic Rugby DAC and will receive a share of the investment, along with the Welsh, Scottish and Irish Rugby Unions, while a portion of the money will also be retained by the Pro14.
CVC are believed to have the opinion that rugby is under-commercialised and as a result will work with Pro14 CEO Martin Anayi on the execution of a commercial plan that is hoped to push the league towards its full potential.
Speaking to the Pro14’s official website Anayi said, “CVC’s show of faith has been impressive and is in keeping with their proven track record of success when it comes to sports investment, including Formula 1, Moto GP and Premiership Rugby. This partnership allows all of our stakeholders to plan for a sustainable period of growth, which will benefit the fans, the players and the game.
“We are very pleased to partner with CVC, who saw us as an ambitious, fast paced and innovative organisation, situated across a number of core rugby nations that can deliver an increasing impact.
“We have been clear that 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.”
Welsh Rugby Union CEO Martyn Phillips also welcomes CVC’s investment saying, “Celtic Rugby has been working hard on this partnership for a considerable amount of time, it is to the credit of everyone involved that the deal is now over the line and we look forward to a sea change in the ability of the PRO14 to realise its full potential.
“CVC’s belief in our sport is clear, their commitment is hugely encouraging and this investment is great news for our teams and for Welsh rugby as a whole, although we are under no illusions that COVID has and will continue to have a significant impact on our organisation for some time.
“The Guinness PRO14 is a cross-border competition which brings unique challenges in the current climate, but this is a ringing endorsement for the recent evolution of the competition.”