September 5, 2018 / 8:55 AM / 3 months ago

Premiership 'considering options' amid report of CVC bid

Rugby Union - Premiership - Bristol Bears vs Bath Rugby - Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol, Britain - August 31, 2018 General view of Gallagher branding on ribbons on the trophy before the match Action Images/Andrew Boyers

LONDON (Reuters) - Premiership Rugby responded to media reports of a potential takeover by financial equity firm CVC on Wednesday by saying they were considering various options for growth but no decision was imminent.

The Times reported that CVC, previously the commercial rights holders for Formula One, planned to transform the league with a bid of some 275 million pounds for a controlling stake.

The newspaper said the executive committee of Premier Rugby Ltd (PRL) had been in negotiations for about a year with Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners.

CVC, who could not be immediately reached for comment, sold their interest in Formula One to U.S.-based Liberty Media in 2017.

Premiership Rugby said major partnerships had helped the tournament grow rapidly in the last five years.

“The Board is always considering options for further expansion and the best ways to support that. Inevitably this will attract interest but a decision is not imminent,” said a spokesperson.

“This interest is of course very good news for Premiership Rugby and is a reflection of its growing international appeal.”

Premiership Rugby is owned by 13 member clubs, many of whom have suffered heavy financial losses, comprising the 12 in the top division plus London Irish.

The Times said the executive committee would present the CVC proposal to club owners at a special meeting on Tuesday that could give the go-ahead for a deal.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Peter Rutherford

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