CVC has agreed a deal with Six Nations Rugby for £365m

Six Nations sells 14% share to CVC

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has bought a 14.3% stake in the Six Nations. The deal, which has been two years in the making, is worth £365m.

The partnership will cover the men’s, women’s and U20 tournaments, as well as the autumn Internationals involving England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. It comes after the six unions recently centralised their ownership and operational activities.

CVC, which has also invested in the Gallagher Premiership and Guinness Pro14, will pay their investment to the six unions over a period of five years and the money will be split in a sliding scale, with the RFU receiving £95m and the IRFU getting £48m for example.

While the unions will benefit from the financial investment, they will also have CVC’s marketing expertise to build and develop broadcast and commercial deals.

However, there are big questions about how CVC will benefit from the deal, with the end of free-to-air Six Nations TV coverage one of the concerns.

Six Nations sells 14% share to CVC: The reaction

The Six Nations and the unions have all warmly welcomed the news. Six Nations CEO Ben Morel said: “This is a hugely positive development and I want to express my thanks to all parties involved.

“In particular, our six unions and federations, for the strong sense of unity and collaboration they have shown throughout this process to create a unified Six Nations Rugby and agree the partnership with CVC.”

Six Nations sells 14% share to CVC

The RFU and England will receive a cash boost (Getty Images)

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said: “We are delighted that the Six Nations unions have unanimously decided to partner with CVC.  Their expertise will help to grow rugby union through the evolution of improved competitions and events and the growth of a more diverse fan base.

“CVC capital of around £95m over the next five years will allow the RFU to invest in revenue-generating activity to continue to support the community and professional game for many years to come.”

While IRFU CEO Philip Browne celebrated the fact the unions continue to have control of ‘sporting matters’. He said: “Importantly, under the agreement, unions retain complete control of all sporting matters while all commercial and broadcast decisions, which will benefit from CVC’s commercial and marketing expertise, also requires majority union approval.”

But how will CVC get a return on their investment? Securing a pay-TV deal for the Six Nations and autumn Internationals will likely be top of the agenda.

Owen Slot, of The Times, also suggests that the Autumn Nations Cup could become an annual event.

Do you think CVC’s investment in the Six Nations is a good thing? Let us know by emailing

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