Western Province confirm continuing talks with American investment consortium

16 November 2020 - 11:05
By Liam Del Carme
Western Province Rugby Football Union president Zelt Marais says negotiations with the American investors are continuing.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images Western Province Rugby Football Union president Zelt Marais says negotiations with the American investors are continuing.

Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) have confirmed that they are continuing talks with American investment consortium‚ MVM Holdings.

WPRFU said in a statement the parties met on Friday “to continue to negotiate a proposed deal that has been under discussion for the past four months”.

Western Province Professional Rugby chairman Ebrahim Rasool and WPRFU president Zelt Marais met with MVM consortium head Marco Masotti and Michael Yormark‚ the president of Roc Nation Sports International and a member of the consortium to continue the discussions.

“We had a very productive meeting of the minds and cleared up all the misunderstandings we had before‚” said Marais in a statement‚ without explaining what those misunderstandings might have been.

Western Province‚ in earlier media statements had appeared lukewarm to MVM's advances. They were said to be reluctant to relinquish the majority stake in the organisation.

“WPRFU agreed a negotiations framework with MVM that is based on mutual respect and appreciation‚” added Marais.

“We are pursuing an investment partner that will help us to strengthen Western Province Rugby and make it the leading global brand that retains and attracts the best talent.”

“The outcome of [the] meeting was very positive‚ and we are happy to be continuing our negotiations‚” said Masotti.

“We are confident that we can reach an amicable deal that serves the best interest of all parties – including the players‚ the fans‚ the clubs and the broader community.

“Most importantly‚ we are working towards a true partnership with the WPRFU so we can leverage our investment and our expertise to further develop a fantastic global brand.

"Furthermore‚ we wish to retract everything that was communicated through the media over the last four months.”

MVM had indicated the proposed $6m (R93m) deal for a majority share in Western Province Rugby would be broken down so that $4m are earmarked for the professional arm of Western Province Rugby‚ while $2m would be ploughed into the union.

When details of the offer first emerged four months ago the $6m offer was the equivalent of R100m but the Rand has since firmed.

The parties did not indicate if there was a deadline for the deal to be concluded.

It isn't clear either if Roc Nation‚ with whom Springbok and Stormers captain Siya Kolisi signed last year‚ would extend its footprint in rugby.

Roc Nation is a American talent agency owned by music mogul Jay Z.