Silver Lake in talks for stake in NZ's All Blacks - source


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Bronze Final - New Zealand v Wales - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - November 1, 2019 New Zealand team pose for pictures after receiving bronze medals. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

SYDNEY (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake is in advanced talks to acquire a minority stake in the commercial activities of New Zealand Rugby, home of the world-renowned All Blacks team, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told Reuters.

The potential transaction was for a stake of "up to 15%" of the three-times winners of the Rugby World Cup, the source said, asking not to be identified because the negotiations are private.

The talks with Silver Lake were first reported by Sky News, which said the deal for a 15% stake would value the team at about $2 billion. Sky said a deal had not been concluded, but could be announced as soon as this month.

An investment in one of the most famous brands in world sport would expand the buyout giant's $75 billion portfolio of companies, most of which are technology and sports venues and teams, according to its website.

Representatives from Silver Lake declined to comment.

Charlotte McLauchlan, Director of Communications for New Zealand Rugby, told Reuters the organisation was "on a path to look at what an investor partner for New Zealand Rugby might look like - which is a very exciting prospect for us."

She declined to comment any further.

Last year New Zealand Rugby launched a review into how the game in the rugby-mad country is run and financed, saying it could include private equity investments.

In 2019, the California-based firm acquired a 10% stake in City Football Group (CFG), which owns reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City and teams in the United States, Australia and China.

(Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney. Additional reporting by Praveen Menon in Wellington; Editing by)

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