December 19, 2018 / 8:11 PM / 3 months ago

Premiership Rugby sells minority stake to private equity firm

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Premiership Final - Exeter Chiefs vs Saracens - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - May 26, 2018 Saracens' Brad Barritt lifts the trophy as they celebrate after winning the Premiership Final Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - England’s Premiership Rugby has completed what it described on Wednesday as a “landmark” investment deal with private equity company CVC Capital Partners.

Premiership Rugby said in a statement that CVC had bought a minority shareholding, which British media reported to be worth more than 200 million pounds.

The investment is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2019 and “marks the start of a new era for English professional club rugby”, the league said.

“We are delighted to have partnered with CVC, a company which has a very impressive track record of helping to grow sports businesses such as Premiership Rugby,” said the body’s Chief Executive Mark McCafferty.

Premiership Rugby said in September it was opposed to selling a majority share after British media reported that CVC sought to buy a 51 percent stake with a bid of around 275 million pounds.

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

Chairman Ian Ritchie said the proceeds of the deal would be reinvested to drive growth in the sport.

“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,” Ritchie added.

Reporting by Toby Davis,; Editing by Ed Osmond

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