UK private equity giant CVC set to take a stake in new tennis business that will combine men’s and women’s pro tours
The UK’s biggest private equity company is preparing to take a stake in a new business combining the men’s and women’s professional tennis tours.
CVC, which is also in talks to buy a stake in the Six Nations rugby championship, has a reputation as a ruthless operator from its time as the owner of Formula 1 (F1).
It is in advanced talks to invest in Tennis One as part of a £420million deal that would transform the sport by combining the organisers of the men’s and women’s tours.
CVC is in advanced talks to invest in Tennis One as part of a £420m deal that would transform the face of global tennis by combining the organisers of the men’s and women’s tours
CVC is said to be targeting approval from the ATP and WTA boards this month, Sky News reported.
The plans to bring the men and women’s game under one roof had stalled, despite the support of Roger Federer and Andy Murray, but executives think a merger could accelerate the sport’s recovery from the pandemic.
Last year, most top tournaments were cancelled or played behind closed doors, including Wimbledon, which was cancelled for the first time since World War Two.
The French Open, which finishes this week, has increased capacity up to two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels. CVC’s involvement will raise concerns after criticism of its stewardship of F1 motor racing.
During its ownership, between 2006 and 2017, it was accused of ‘raping the sport’ and ‘extracting as much money as possible’.
But CVC has now become a powerful force in world sport. It owns a £200million stake in Premiership Rugby and part of Pro14 and half the RAC, the roadside assistance provider.
It is trying to buy a 14 per cent stake in the Six Nations, which is being investigated by the UK competition watchdog.
CVC also has a stake in the International Volleyball Federation’s commercial rights, and is considering entries into US basketball and women’s football in England.
ATP and CVC were contacted for comment.