The board of governing body New Zealand Rugby (NZR), along with its voting members and 26 provincial unions, have agreed to proceed with raising NZ$62.5 million ($39.24 million) in capital through its existing underwrite with private equity firm Silver Lake.

The decision will see Silver Lake’s stake in NZR’s commercial arm, NZR Commercial, increase from 5.71% to 7.5%. NZR retains the remaining 92.5% equity in the entity.

The new deal comes after NZR sold its initial stake to Silver Lake for NZ$200 million in February after securing an agreement from the players’ union.

The initial capital raise has already seen investment provided to NZR Commercial and stakeholders, including over 450 community rugby clubs and the rebuilding of NZR reserves post-Covid.

In a statement, NZR said while it considered other investors for the most recent capital raise, Silver Lake “provided certainty.”

Raising the latest NZ$62.5 million and establishing a Legacy Fund with a committed capital contribution of NZ$60 million are the final two elements approved by NZR’s voting members in June 2022.

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By GlobalData

The Legacy Fund is being launched as an endowment fund for rugby to further grow and develop the game from grassroots and beyond. It will support annual grants for a range of community rugby initiatives.

The deal comes as NZR beefs up its commercial initiatives after hiring Craig Fenton and Ian Narev to lead NZR Commercial as chief executive and chairman, respectively.

Since then, the governing body has renewed its long-standing partnership with sportswear giant Adidas and launched NZR+, its new globally available streaming platform covering exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

In September, the governing body hired Endeavor Streaming, a subsidiary of the international entertainment agency giant, to deliver NRZ+.

Silver Lake, meanwhile, also has investments in Madison Square Garden Company, owner of the NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers, and City Football Group, the collective of soccer clubs headed up by English Premier League powerhouse Manchester City.

It is also an investor in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, online retail giant Fanatics, and Endeavor, the former Hollywood talent agency that has developed into a global, entertainment, sport, and content company and owns the IMG agency and mixed martial arts’ UFC, among other properties.

Silver Lake has $90 billion in assets and a portfolio that generates more than $200 billion per year.