By Hal Williams
NEWS OUTLETS are forming a scrum around reports that US tech investment firm Silver Lake intends to acquire a 15 percent stake in New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team.
Silver Lake is keen to get involved with the legendary national side, which won Rugby World Cups in 1987, 2011 and 2015. Despite a 77 percent winning record in test matches, the Kiwi team is in dire financial straits as a result of Covid lockdowns.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said late last year that the organisation had used up almost half of its cash reserves. It had been in line to earn the equivalent of almost $75m before lockdown.
The BBC and Sky News have both reported on New Zealand Rugby’s search for additional sources of funding to keep the brand alive.
A 15 percent stake in the All Blacks, famous for their intimidating, on-pitch haka challenge to rivals, could cost as much as £1.5bn — but no deal has yet been reached.
Silver Lake is said to have $75bn (£53m) in combined AUM. It has invested in high-profile sporting ventures in Australia, Japan, Spain, Uruguay and the US, and is part of a consortium which bought the UFC MMA brand for $4.025bn (£2.96bn) in 2016.