New Zealand Rugby is refusing to confirm whether or not it's had a $465 million offer from US technology investment giants Silver Lake for a 15 per cent share of commercial rights valued at over $3 billion.
The New Zealand Herald is reporting Silver Lake has tabled the offer and New Zealand is rugby is now consulting provincial unions about it.
The Herald says Silver Lake's minority stake remains under negotiation and could be anywhere from 10 to 15 per cent.
In a statement New Zealand Rugby refused to comment on the offer apart from re-confirming that it has been looking for an investment partner for several months and is consulting with its stakeholders.
"As we have said (previously), we are on a path to look at what an investor partner for New Zealand Rugby might look like - which is a very exciting prospect for us. We are consulting with our stakeholders but we do not have any further comment to make at this time," the statement read.
More than nine months in the making, the offer would be for a share in a newly created NZR entity and any deal was provisional on approval from a majority of the country's provincial rugby unions (PUs).
The Herald reported that NZR executives had began a series of pitches to the PUs on Wednesday, with the Players Association, former All Blacks and Black Ferns and coaches being consulted.
New Zealand Rugby have their annual general meeting in April, and a decision on the offer was not expected before that time.
While the move to sell a stake in New Zealand's national game was likely to be greeted with skepticism in some circles, the report said senior NZR executives were adamant neither the All Blacks or any team were being sold.
A California-based private equity firm, in 2019 Silver Lake acquired a 10 per cent stake in City Football Group (CFG), which owns reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City and teams in the United States, Australia and China.
An investment in one of the most famous brands in world sport would expand the buyout giant's $75 billion portfolio of companies, most of which are technology and sports venues and teams, according to its website.