CVC has bought a minority shareholding, said to be 27 per cent, concluding ongoing talks between the parties including a previous bid for 51 per cent majority ownership, which was rejected by Premiership clubs in September.
The company, which previously led investments in Moto GP and Formula One, is expected to complete its investment in the first quarter of 2019. “We have agreed that the proceeds from CVC Fund VII’s investment will be re-invested to drive continued growth in the sport, for the benefit of the fans, clubs and players,” said Ian Ritchie, Premiership Rugby’s chairman.
“The structure of the deal ensures that there is strong alignment of interest between CVC and the Premiership Rugby clubs.
“CVC support our vision of growing the sport and we are looking forward to working closely with them to take Premiership Rugby to the next level.”
Premiership Rugby, which has grown commercially by more than 80 per cent in the past five years, has promised that the capital will go towards improving facilities at the sport’s club level, and not to increase player wages.
Nigel Melville, interim chief executive of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the sport’s governing body in England, had proposed that the league could suit two American-style conferences to alleviate the workload and number of elite players in the country.
Mark McCafferty, Premiership Rugby’s chief executive, confirmed that CVC’s investment was agreed unanimously by its member clubs and will help grow the competition’s “global appeal”.
“Since Premiership Rugby was formed in 1997, our owners have invested more than £400 million to build up the clubs and the competition, which today sees the Gallagher Premiership broadcast in over 200 countries around the world,” he said.
“It was the perfect time for us to identify the right partner to help accelerate our next phase of growth.
“Further developing the global appeal and following for the Gallagher Premiership through investment in the product and fan experience is one of the main priorities for the partnership.”