With all the focus at Rugby Australia on the boardroom politics which ended the chairmanship of Hamish McLennan, it would be easy to forget the sport is in the midst of a long-running debt process.
Street Talk understands it’s down to nail-biting extra time for the negotiations, which entered phase two last month. Credit teams are playing to fund the troubled governing body until 2025 with $60 million in debt.
Daniel Herbert has replaced Hamish McLennan as Rugby Australia’s chairman. Getty
Sources said seven parties had been whittled down to three in the scrum to give Rugby Australia a cash injection after negotiations with private equity funds fell through.
Jake Haines’ Pacific Equity Partners credit fund is understood to be in the running. The fund, dubbed Capital Solutions, was launched by PEP in March 2021 as a new direction for the private equity firm, seeking to make credit investments in Australian and New Zealand businesses
Ares’ $US3.7 billion ($5.7 billion) Sports, Media and Entertainment Fund was also understood to be around the try line. This is a logical move for the global alternatives giant, having given Rugby Australia a shot of short-term funding in 2021 to help it repay a $6.8 million loan from HSBC and give it some breathing room amid financial troubles. The fund’s other debt and equity investments include Spanish football club Atleticode Madrid, US baseball team the San Diego Padres, British motor racing team McLaren Racing and Major League Soccer team Inter Miami.
Distressed debt giants Bain Capital Credit and Oaktree Capital had previously passed on the deal, putting it in the too-hard basket with Rugby Australia facing a massive uphill battle to turn its fading fortunes around. Private equityRead more on afr.com