Private equity’s been playing in the world of sports for several years now, but the fiasco that was the European Super League has turned the spotlight on how teams and competitions are financed more than ever before.
The most high-profile deals in recent years include CVC Capital Partners’ £365m investment in the Six Nations Championship, and Silver Lake’s $500m stake in the owner of Manchester City football club. Both of these were for minority stakes.
Silver Lake has also recently made a $270m bid for a 12.5% stake in New Zealand’s famous All Blacks rugby team’s commercial rights, which has been met with resistance both from the fans and players. In fact, New Zealand Rugby has agreed to meet with the nation’s Rugby Players’ Association to discuss a potential public share float instead.
Many of the deals taking place behind the scenes are not for majority stakes, according to Adam Sommerfeld, managing partner at Certus Capital. Instead, most clubs are opting to sell minority stakes, preferred equity or do debt deals, where they retain control over management.
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