All Blacks ‘up for sale’ as cash-strapped union woos private equity

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The All Blacks are in talks with private equity investors as they struggle with the financial impact of Covid-19.

New Zealand’s national treasure has seen its cash reserves slashed by almost half due to the pandemic lockdown.

ALL BLACKS NAME COULD BE SOLD TO HIGHEST BIDDER

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said it is now looking at alternative sources of funding, such as private equity.

The move raises the prospect that the famed All Blacks name could be sold to the highest bidder.

Earlier this week NZR chief executive Mark Robinson confirmed it had burned through 47% of its NZ$86m cash reserves during the pandemic.

NZR were on track to earn revenue of NZ$100m when the sport was suspended during a national lockdown.

“We are open to looking at partners who may invest in New Zealand Rugby,” Robinson said.

Robinson did not name any potential private equity partners, but reports suggest that NZR are in talks with US firm Silver Lake.

The California-based firm specialises in technology investments, but has stakes in martial arts group UFC and City Football Group, the holding group that owns English Premier League runners-up Manchester City.

ALL BLACKS THE MOST VALUABLE BRAND IN WORLD RUGBY

The All Blacks are three-time world champions and have a win rate of almost 80%, earning them global recognition.

The All Blacks have the most valuable brand in world rugby, according to British consultancy Brand Finance, valued at £144m (NZ$278m).

The All Blacks are next in action against cross-Tasman rivals, the Wallabies, in Brisbane on Saturday in the second match of this year’s Tri-Nations.

The match will double as a ‘dead’ Bledisloe Cup clash after New Zealand retained the trophy for the 18th consecutive year after a record 43-5 win in Sydney last weekend.

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