Hong Kong-based investment group Y11 Sports & Media has completed a deal to take a 75.1-per-cent stake in Welsh rugby union club Ospreys.
Ospreys chairman, Rob Davies, who along with the other existing shareholders collectively retain a 24.9-per-cent stake in the club, will continue in his role.
“For some time now we’ve been planning a radical shift of gear and, from that, over 12-months of hard work and strategic planning has led to this new partnership with Y11,” said Davies.
Y11 chief executive James Davies-Yandle, along with his business partner the financier Donald Tang, have joined the board of Ospreys as directors, and a new holding company, Ospreys International Group, has been set up.
No financial details of the transaction have been revealed, but the club described it as a ‘multi-year, multi-million-pound deal’.
Davies-Yandle said in a statement on the club’s website: “Rugby’s potential has been overlooked for too long as other sports have been nimbler at seizing commercial opportunities to power success on the pitch with revenues off it. But the environment is changing quickly and rugby is on the verge of going through the same type of evolution as other sports before it.”
Ospreys compete in the Pro14 league and the European Rugby Champions Cup. The team has been searching for new investment since a planned merger with another Welsh team, Scarlets, fell through last year.
Davies-Yandle is from Wales and has a sporting background. He represented Wales in hockey at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and his father is a former rugby player for the Swansea club.
His statement continued: “Of all the clubs we’ve seen, [Ospreys’] potential to fully emerge and take the next step is far beyond that of its peers.
“We want to help it make that journey by investing in a root-and-branch transformation of the Ospreys, to ensure it leads the next wave of the game.
“Alongside the Ospreys’ management, we have agreed a programme of development and investment that will touch every aspect of the organisation’s operations and activities.
“Initially, we will take our time together to methodically build operational strength, capacity and resilience, before rapidly accelerating programmes across the board.
“Crucially, we are not going to allow ourselves to be held back by the current operating environment and we are not going to be afraid to break the mould.
“Ultimately, our reach and our sights are set far beyond our existing borders and our business model and expertise are too.
“It’s an exciting time for the Ospreys: its team, its supporters, the organisation as well as for the game of rugby.”