Tuesday 20 April 2021 12:35 pm

Bankers appointed to find buyers for Rugby World Cup commercial rights

The Rugby World Cup could be set for a commercial shake-up with City bankers now working with rugby’s governing body.

Jefferies and Rothschild have been appointed by World Rugby to appraise their fundraising options after a year disrupted by Covid-19, Sky News’ Mark Kleinman has reported.

Sources told Kleinman that the body would speak to private equity funds as well as sovereign wealth funds on deals likely to include a stake in commercial rights to the World Cup – the next of which will be held in France in two years’ time. 

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Private equity giants have been circling the sport for some time, with CVC taking a significant minority stake in the Six Nations tournament as well as Premiership Rugby, the UK’s premier rugby competition. 

Meanwhile Silver Lake are in talks with New Zealand rugby over taking a stake in the All Blacks’ commercial rights, with players – including captain Sam Cane – attempting to block the deal. 

Rugby has been battered by Covid-19 restrictions, with international tours cancelled, major tournaments hosted behind closed doors and the Women’s World Cup postponed.

World Rugby’s flagship annual tournament, a ‘Sevens’ tournament played across the world, was also heavily affected. 

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