Sale of 14% stake in Six Nations to be reviewed by competition watchdog

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission will investigate the proposal by the Six Nations – which is owned by the British, Irish, French, and Italian rugby unions – to sell a 14% stake in the tournament series to investment fund giant CVC Partners
Sale of 14% stake in Six Nations to be reviewed by competition watchdog

Ireland's Aoife McDermott celebrates Ireland's Six Nations win over Italy in April. Picture: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

The Irish competition watchdog will investigate the proposal by the Six Nations – which is owned by the British, Irish, French, and Italian rugby unions – to sell a 14% stake in the tournament series to investment fund giant CVC Partners. 

The proposed transaction, which was first announced in March, was reportedly worth £365m (€423m) to the Six Nations over five years, with the Irish Rugby Football Union set to secure about €56m, after the tournaments' finances were hugely hit by the Covid-19 sporting disruption. The Six Nations company generates income for the men’s, women’s and U-20 tournaments. 

CVC is already a major player in the European rugby world. 

It has invested in the Pro14 and the Premiership of England's 12 top teams, which is broadcast on BT Sport and Channel 5 in the UK and NBC in the US. 

Early last year, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission cleared CVC to take a minority stake in Celtic Rugby, which owns and generates media income for the Pro14 league. 

On its investigation of the latest CVC plan, the commission said Six Nations Rugby "acts as agent of the unions for the commercialisation of media rights and sponsorship packages in relation to all of the annual Six Nations Rugby Championship, the Autumn Internationals series and certain other related commercial rights".

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