The New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Board and its voting members, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and 26 Provincial Unions, have agreed to proceed with raising $62.5 million via the existing Silver Lake underwrite.
The decision means that Silver Lake’s interest in NZR Commercial will increase by 1.79% from 5.71% to 7.5%.
NZR will now conclude the capital raise process which has already seen investment provided to NZR Commercial and stakeholders, including over 450 community rugby clubs, as well as the rebuilding of NZR reserves post Covid-19.
Raising the $62.5 million and the establishment of a Legacy Fund with a committed capital contribution of $60m were the final two outstanding elements of the transaction which had been approved by NZR’s voting members in June 2022.
The $60 million Legacy Fund was agreed to be established as an endowment fund for rugby, to further grow and develop the game from the grass roots up. The Fund will support annual grants for a range of community rugby initiatives.
NZR investigated a number of alternative options to raise the $62.5 million, including approaching New Zealand institutional investors. After careful evaluation of market conditions and support from external expertise, the NZR Board recommended the previously agreed Silver Lake underwrite provided certainty and allowed the completion of the commitments approved by the members last year.
The agreement to proceed this week comes after consultation between NZR, the 26 Provincial Unions, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA).
The partnership with Silver Lake continues to be supported by NZR and the voting members, with early successes including the establishment of a new board, appointment of an NZR Commercial CEO, expansion of the relationship with adidas and the launch of NZR+.
NZR will retain 92.5% percent of the equity in NZRC after the Silver Lake underwrite has been exercised.