Mike's Minute: A share offering will not help NZ Rugby survive

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 17 May 2021, 11:03AM

Mike's Minute: A share offering will not help NZ Rugby survive

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 17 May 2021, 11:03AM

The bit about the Silver Lake scrap that troubles me is just why the Players' Association and Forsyth Barr thinks their IPO offer makes any sense.

I'm not beholden to the Silver Lake deal. I have no vested interest in rugby other that I worry that our most successful sport and national game doesn’t make any money.

The Players' Association is right, most of us would snap up some shares in New Zealand Rugby. But that doesn’t solve the issue.

The issue is not as much lack of money, as it is lack of expertise in a specific area. That area being getting the All Blacks to the world in a way that fills the cash register. Silver Lake is an expert at doing what we need doing. Look at Manchester City, look at the UFC. New Zealand Rugby doesn’t have the expertise and experience to do what Silver Lake does.

Silver Lake want a stake. They bring their bag of tricks to town, they take the All Blacks to the world, clip the ticket, help the game, and make us all money.

A share float raises money, but then what? I give them $1000, I get some shares, and then what? Part of a float is about growth, it's about increased returns, it's about you watching the share price rise, and the dividends flowing.

But for the dividends to flow you need New Zealand Rugby to be transformed in a way that increases returns. How are they doing that, with nothing more than the money you gave them for a slice of the company?

Raising money normally means you're doing something productive with it. Buying another factory to make more stuff, entering a new market to increase your customer base, or branching into a new but related area of your core business.

None of the Forsyth Barr plan seems to envisage any of this.

That’s before you get to the most uncomfortable connection between the company and David Kirk. They say he recused himself. Even if he did, if this was such an obvious answer, why haven't the various investment houses outside the one Kirk happens to work for drummed up the same idea?

This is why this thing is such a mess. The ideas the Players Association have come up with, a float and more borrowing, don't make sense.

If there was an idea that made sense, they'd have a case.

Given they don’t, you have to conclude that Silver Lake, with the support of the New Zealand Rugby Board and every single union around the country, is your obvious way forward.