The US private equity firm that holds a stake in Manchester City Football Club is said to be closing in on an investment deal with the New Zealand All Blacks.
Silver Lake is in advanced discussions about taking a minority holding in New Zealand Rugby’s commercial rights arm and a deal could be announced as soon as this month, Sky News reported.
If confirmed, the move could see Silver Lake taking a 15 per cent stake at a valuation of roughly $2bn (£1.5bn).
Sources said the figures were not set and talks had yet to be concluded.
California-based Silver Lake is one of the world’s leading tech investment firms, boasting assets under management of roughly $75bn.
In 2019 it pumped $500m into Man City’s Abu Dhabi owner City Football Group, taking its stake to over 10 per cent.
It is also part of the consortium that took control of the UFC mixed martial arts franchise in 2016.
If successful the All Blacks deal would mark the latest efforts by a sports rights owner to raise capital after a sharp slump in income caused by the pandemic.
Silver Lake was up against competition from a number of rival private equity firms to secure a deal during a sale process run by investment bank Jefferies, according to the report.
The two sides are said to be keen to highlight that the capital raised from the sale will be invested back into New Zealand rugby — a move possibly designed to stave off any concerns about selling a stake to a foreign commercial buyer.
Silver Lake declined to comment.