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Report: CVC in advanced talks over US$600m deal to combine ATP and WTA

Investment firm seeking minority stake in combined One Tennis commercial entity.

7 June 2021 Tom Bassam
  • ATP Media CEO Mark Webster set to helm new tennis organisation
  • CVC seeking approval from ATP and WTA boards by end of June

The CVC private equity firm is in talks regarding a US$600 million deal to combine the top men's and women's professional tennis tours under a single commercial entity, according to Sky News.

The report says that discussions with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) are at an advanced stage, with CVC targeting approval from both tours’ boards later in June.

The plans, which are reported to have been under discussion for months, would see the ATP and WTA's commercial activities unified.

According to Sky, CVC would hold a minority interest in the combined company, called One Tennis, that would manage the properties, with ATP Media chief executive Mark Webster taking on the same role in the new business.

CVC reportedly believes that combining the men's and women's tours can accelerate the sport's recovery from the pandemic and unlock significant new revenue streams.

The deal would purportedly see CVC seek greater investment in tournaments and player prize money, as well as an upgrade to broadcast production, plus a global digital platform to increase fan engagement.

Neither CVC, the ATP nor the WTA have commented on the report.

CVC has been stepping up its sports investments in recent years, most notably in rugby union, where it has acquired stakes in club competitions such as Premiership Rugby and Pro14, as well as the annual Six Nations international tournament. The latter deal has attracted interest from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.

According to Sky, CVC is also in negotiations to acquire a stake in South Africa’s domestic club rugby union competition, the Currie Cup.

CVC has attempted to diversity its sports investments outside of rugby union of late, seeing mixed results. It successfully acquired a stake in the International Volleyball Federation's (FIVB) commercial rights earlier this year, but its bid for a share in Italian top-flight soccer’s media business looks set collapse.

CVC is in talks to combine the ATP and WTA

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