NEWS: Western Province Rugby Confirm US Interest in Stormers

29 Jul 2020

The Western Province Rugby Football Union has confirmed that it has been approached by a group of American businessmen to buy the Stormers.

That's according to IOL's Mike Greenaway.

The offer is believed to be in the region of $6 million (about R100 million).

The company is headed by South African-born Marco Masotti, who is recognised as one of the USA’s leading lawyers in the private equity and hedge fund fields.

Masotti, representing a group of former South African businessmen in the US, submitted an exclusivity agreement to the WPRFU on 8 July, in which his consortium offer to buy 51% of the Stormers for the controlling interest.

Masotti, speaking to Independent Media from New York, said that $2 million would go to the union and $4 million would go into the balance sheet of the board of the Stormers.

“The Western Province RFU has come back to us with the concern that they should keep the controlling share, but that they would give us an equitable share of the board (of the Stormers)," said Masotti. “They want to keep control of rugby affairs and we could control the commercial affairs, but that wouldn’t work for us. There needs to be one controller and the guys that are involved in this bid have extensive experience in enterprises of this kind — we are talking about owners of NBA and ice hockey teams. Our discussions with Western Province are ongoing and they are going to come back to us regarding our concerns. The sport of rugby is stressed and needs change to survive and then flourish, and we see so much potential in Cape Town and the Stormers as a brand — they have iconic figures in an exciting team based in one of the world’s great cities. We see great opportunities to link the Stormers with (NBA team) Milwaukee Bucks and grow the brand in Europe and the States.”

WP/Stormers board member, Andre van der Veen, has confirmed the offer.

“The rugby landscape is going through change and you have to re-look the model,” he said. “A lot is going to change and rugby has to position itself for change. The two things you cannot do without is capital and expertise. It is a simple formula — you need both. So when you are lacking in one department (WP is desperately short of cash) it has to be addressed... It would be invaluable to have an experienced, controlling shareholder assist a rugby team in these uncertain times. In addition, South Africa would like to keep as many of its rugby stars in the country, and this is one way to do it.”

Sport categories: 
Rugby Union