South African billionaires eye Blue Bulls rugby team

With South Africa having all but secured a place in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Japan, two of the sports-mad country’s richest people may buy the Blue Bulls rugby team, which regularly provides more than its fair share of players to the national side.

Johannesburg-based Rapport reported that the Blue Bulls Rugby Union has received a joint offer from Remgro Ltd, the investment company of Johann Rupert, and African Rainbow Capital, which is backed by Patrice Motsepe, citing the union’s president, Willem Strauss.

Remgro already owns half of the Blue Bulls Co. together with the Blue Bulls Rugby Union.

Strauss confirmed the joint offer when contacted by text message but African Rainbow spokesman Ainsley Moos said by phone neither African Rainbow Capital nor African Rainbow Capital Investments Ltd. are party to the transaction.

The deal will see Remgro reducing its share to 37.45% and Motsepe taking up 37.45%, giving the two businessmen a controlling stake in the Pretoria-based side, the newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.

Motsepe, the country’s richest black person and a brother-in-law of President Cyril Ramaphosa, also owns Mamelodi Sundowns, a top soccer team in the country’s premier league.

Rupert is South Africa’s second-richest person, with a net worth of $6.5 billion, according the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Blue Bulls is South Africa’s only multiple winner of the prestigious Super Rugby competition, which includes regional teams from New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

But it has struggled in recent years with players leaving for overseas clubs which pay more.

African Rainbow Capital on Wednesday said that it was aware of media reports. “While it is not ARC’s normal practice to comment on market speculation,
these media reports are factually incorrect. Such transactions fall outside the scope and mandate of ARC,” it said.

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South African billionaires eye Blue Bulls rugby team