Pro14 sells 28% stake to private equity firm

The Pro14 has received a major financial investment in a deal with private equity group CVC.

The group has acquired a 28% stake in the competition, with the Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh unions retaining the 72% majority share.

CVC has become major backers of rugby in recent years, acquiring a similar stake in the English Premiership in 2018, while they are also reportedly close to investing in the Six Nations.

A statement said the investment would allow the unions to "continue to invest in the sport, both professional and amateur, to achieve its potential over the long term".

It added: "A portion of the investment will also be held centrally at Pro14 Rugby, for the Board to invest in further capabilities for the business and in upgrading league operations in line with its growth ambitions.

"As part of this agreement, the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR), will also become a member of Celtic Rugby DAC, and receive a share of the investment.

"Martin Anayi, CEO, will continue to lead the management team at Pro14 Rugby, working closely with CVC and the unions on execution of the commercial plan. The unions will also remain independently responsible for the sporting and regulatory elements of the league, via the Sporting & Regulatory Committee.

"In the past four years, the Guinness Pro14 has performed well both on and off the field; doubling distributions to clubs and facilitating record investment back into the sport from the league. This has been recognised by CVC, who share Pro14 Rugby’s vision for the long-term potential of the league.

"CVC was selected by Pro14 Rugby and the unions as their partner due to the extensive experience of prior CVC funds investing in multiple sports businesses, such as Formula 1, Moto GP and Premiership Rugby."

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