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PRO14 takeover bid

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EXCLUSIVE: The PRO14 in takeover talks with private equity firm

Ownership of the PRO14 could be set to change hands if an apparent bid by a private equity firm to takeover the competition is accepted.

Although believed to be in the early stages, RugbyPass understands that a private equity firm has held talks with the organization regarding the possibility of a potential buy out.

In 2017 the PRO14 made an unorthodox expansion to include two South Africans team, a move that a season and a half on appears to be a success.

Now spanning five countries and two continents, the growth potential of the product and the exposure to a broad market could prove attractive to a private equity firm with designs on further expansion.

The PRO14 did not wish to make a comment when one was requested by RugbyPass.

Continue reading below…

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A sixth country could be added, with English Championship club Ealing Trailfinders – currently sitting second on the table with an eye on Premiership promotion – currently examining the possibility of joining the competition. Franchises in Germany and the United States have also been mooted in the past.

Anayi’s tenure at the PRO14 has also seen a considerable amount of new broadcasting partnerships formed that now sees the competition broadcast in the USA, Australia and across Asia.

In December Premiership Rugby agreed to sell 27 percent of its shares to CVC Capital Partners in return for a fee believed to be in the region of £200 million.

In September, the 12 Premiership clubs initially voted to reject a proposal from the private equity firm to take control of 51 percent of the shares for around £275m.

But three months later, a deal has been struck between all parties – one that was unanimously accepted by the clubs.

CVC has previously been involved in MotoGP and Formula One, and Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty believes the new partnership will elevate the competition to a greater standing on the global stage.

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EXCLUSIVE: The PRO14 in takeover talks with private equity firm