Unions approve sale of All Blacks stake
AUCKLAND • New Zealand's 26 provincial unions yesterday unanimously approved the sale of a 12.5 per cent stake in the commercial arm of New Zealand Rugby, including the All Blacks national team, to American private equity firm Silver Lake.
The NZ$387.5 million (S$372.9 million) deal, which values NZR's commercial rights at US$2.23 billion (S$2.96 billion), still needs to be approved by the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association, which has expressed reservations about the deal.
Debt reprieve for Barca to fix finances
BARCELONA • Barcelona noteholders have agreed to relax some debt terms, granting a measure of relief to the La Liga giants as the football club grapple with a collapse in revenue caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A group of European investors in its €200 million (S$321.5 million) of senior notes will permit the Catalans to remove limits on indebtedness and financial expenses. The club, labouring under a €488 million net debt pile, ran up nearly €100 million in losses last year.
Marsch to be Leipzig new coach next term
BERLIN • Jesse Marsch will take over at RB Leipzig next season, replacing Julian Nagelsmann, who is joining Bayern Munich in the summer. The 47-year-old Marsch has agreed to sign a two-year contract, the Bundesliga football club said yesterday.
The American will join from sister club RB Salzburg, where he won the Austrian league and Cup double last season, and they remain on course to retain their titles this term.
BT seeks partner in its sports business
LONDON • BT Group yesterday said it was in talks to sell a stake in its sports business, saying companies such as Amazon, Disney and sports streaming company DAZN had shown interest.
According to Bloomberg, BT is seeking a deal because its broadcast TV division, which along with Sky holds the rights to Premier League football in England, is cash-intensive and the company is looking to make other investments.
Silverstone 1st venue for sprint race trial
LONDON • Silverstone will be the first circuit to trial Formula One's new sprint qualifying format, which is to be implemented at two more unidentified races this season, the British Grand Prix venue said on Wednesday.
It was also confirmed that Turkey will replace Canada on this year's F1 calendar, after the June 13 race in Montreal was cancelled on Wednesday for the second year in a row due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Istanbul returned last year for the first time since 2011.