New Zealand’s provincial rugby unions will vote on the Silver Lake contract next month

New Zealand's provincial rugby unions will vote on the Silver Lake contract next month

The 26 provincial unions will receive less cash compared to Silver Lake’s previous offer of NZ$387.5 million for a 12.5% stake a year ago, which was rejected by the players union. The path was cleared for the revamped deal to go through when NZR struck a deal with the players in February.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has summoned a special general meeting for June 2 in Auckland to allow member unions to vote on a private equity investment from Silver Lake, the final step in the landmark deal’s clearance process. Silver Lake would take 5.71 percent -8.58 percent of a new commercial company following an additional co-investment offered to New Zealand institutions later this year, valuing NZR’s commercial assets at NZ$3.5 billion ($2.21 billion).

The vote was originally scheduled to take place at last month’s annual general meeting but the provincial unions requested more time to study the detail of the new deal. NZR, whose finances have been buffeted by the COVID-19 pandemic, feel they need the cash injection to keep pace with northern hemisphere rugby powers who already have equity deals in place.

It remains controversial, however, with some New Zealanders resistant to the idea of any level of foreign ownership of the famous All Blacks brand.

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