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May 13, 2021, 10:01 p.m. EDT

New Zealand rugby players propose IPO of stake in All Blacks

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By Stephen Wright

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Professional rugby players have proposed listing a stake in the All Blacks’ commercial rights on the New Zealand stock exchange instead of an investment from U.S. private-equity firm Silver Lake.

A proposal developed by brokerage Forsyth Barr would sell 5.0% of New Zealand Rugby’s revenue-generating assets to the public, aiming to raise up to 191 million New Zealand dollars (US$137 million), according to a memo viewed Friday by The Wall Street Journal.

The New Zealand Rugby Players Association, which represents elite players, have opposed a deal to sell a 12.5% stake in the All Blacks’ commercial rights to Silver Lake for NZ$387.5 million.

The memo said that even though the listing would raise less capital, it was sufficient to inject the same amount of cash into amateur rugby as proposed by Silver Lake and create substantial financial reserves for New Zealand Rugby, the sport’s peak body.

Former All Black captain David Kirk is the chairman of Forsyth Barr and president of the professional players association.

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