Pro14 CVC deal explained as SARU clubs miss out on investment

Guinness Pro14

The Guinness Pro14 has seen an investment of £116m from private equity firm CVC for a 28% share. This is the same group who have also invested in the Gallagher Premiership, and are looking for a deal with the Six Nations.

The deal is for stakeholders only, as South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) clubs – the Cheetahs and Southern Kings, will miss out on the investment [in terms of a shareholding]. But all clubs will benefit from the Pro14 CVC deal.

Robert Rees brings you all you need to know about the deal.

Pro14 CVC deal positive news for Stakeholders

The CVC investment into the Pro14 is for stakeholders only. That is Celtic League origin clubs, not including recent sides who joined the previous PRO12 competition.

The SARU clubs are board members of Celtic Rugby DAC (Pro14 Rugby), but not stakeholders. The FIR (Italy) have been made stakeholders, as by adding them to the investment deal it didn’t cut the share of the money, but added two more shares worth.

The deal is worth around £30m per union and will be staggered payments of around five installments and the Pro14 will take a small portion of the allocated funds.

Money not guaranteed to reach clubs

Despite looking at a rather healthy £8m per club worth in the deal, not all the money is guaranteed to go to the clubs involved. Union’s will be given their circa £30m and it’s up to them how they allocate the funds within their structure.

In Wales, for example, the money will be put into the central pot of the PRB (Professional Rugby Board) and then divided up based on the business plans provided by each of the regions.

Meanwhile, The IRFU have pocketed an initial £5m as part of the first installment of the deal, and it’s expected that the WRU has had the same. You would, therefore, see the SRU and FIR see the same income.

Main points of interest for stakeholders are:

  • The £116m investment is on top of the broadcast deal which is worth around £36m.
  • The final installment is based on the league becoming more profitable in the time of the first four investments.
  • Unions/key stakeholders retain 72% of equity and rights.
  • The unions will also remain independently responsible for the sporting and regulatory elements of the league, via the Sporting & Regulatory Committee.

There is also the notion that due to the financial black hole in the union’s pockets; left behind due to pandemic, that they could help use the allocated funds to help fill that void before any investment in their clubs is seen.

PRO14 chief executive Martin Anayi (main picture) stated in a PRO14 media release, “We are very pleased to partner with CVC, who saw us as an ambitious, fast-paced and innovative organization, situated across a number of core rugby nations that can deliver an increasing impact.”


As of publishing, the 2019/20 season was still yet to restart. The Coronavirus pandemic halts all European rugby competition – Last Word on Rugby will update readers on updates relating to the proposed return date of August 22-23, fixture lists, and the future of the Pro14 and other professional rugby competitions.

Note: original image sourced via Guinness PRO14 media release, 2019.


“Main photo credit”

Pictured at the ticket announcement is Guinness PRO14 CEO Martin Anayi
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne