Gallagher Premiership clubs to discuss CVC takeover bid

Rugby


The Gallagher Premiership’s clubs and London Irish will meet on Tuesday to discuss the multi-million pound takeover offer tabled by a private equity firm.

CVC Capital Partners — the former owners of Formula One — have offered £275m for a 51 per cent holding stake in the English top flight but it needs all 13 clubs — the 12 Premiership clubs and London Irish who also own shares in the top flight — to agree to the sale at Tuesday’s extraordinary general meeting.

The money is likely to be rebuffed, with Bath owner Bruce Craig one voice who feels the offer — putting the Premiership at just over half a billion pounds — undervalues the top flight. Bristol Rugby are also understood to have reservations over the bid.

For the offer to be accepted it needs all 13 clubs to agree to the deal and there will be some looking at the money on offer as a chance to clear debts — only Exeter Chiefs made a profit last year — or build new infrastructure. If the bid was accepted, each club would make in the region of £17m.

“To bring in a very strong financial partner, well respected, with huge experience in sport via Formula One, is a very good move,” Saracens owner Nigel Wray told Rugbypass.

“They will cherish the game. If there are other proposals that are even better, then great. We need massive investment. If it arrives, it will be a positive game-changer. Saracens would support consideration of this offer.”

But while there is optimism from some corners, Bath owner Craig has warned against accepting the bid. “Life is about control,” Craig said in The Times. “When ceding control, you need to be very careful. Losing control, you don’t get it back.”



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