The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has acquired a £400m personal fairness strategy that will see it relinquish majority possession of The Hundred whereas elevating funds to inject into the game’s cash-strapped counties.
Sky News has learnt that the governing physique has in latest weeks been handed a suggestion from Bridgepoint Group, the London-listed buyout agency, to purchase a controlling stake within the latest format of the sport.
A supply near the ECB mentioned this weekend that Bridgepoint had proposed shopping for a 75% stake in The Hundred, probably injecting £300m of recent cash into English cricket.
Allan Leighton, the serial firm chairman who has labored with Bridgepoint on numerous its investments, is alleged to have been working with the agency on growing its proposed supply.
A bid was unlikely to succeed on the present time, the supply added.
If the deal had been to progress, every of the 18 counties which make up the game’s home bedrock would obtain a considerable sum at a time when a lot of them have seen their monetary struggles deepen within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One insider described the supply from Bridgepoint as “game-changing”, and recommended it was prone to win widespread assist from county chairs.
The ECB’s response, nonetheless, is anticipated to be cooler, with a brand new management staff prone to undertake a extra sceptical strategy to handing over management of the game’s latest money-spinner.
Richard Thompson, the previous Surrey County Cricket Club chairman, was just lately put in because the ECB chair, saying he wished it to change into “the UK’s most inclusive sport”.
He has overseen the appointment of his former county colleague, Richard Gould, because the governing physique’s new chief govt.
Mr Gould, a former chief govt of Bristol City Football Club, was an outspoken critic of The Hundred throughout his tenure at Surrey.
Coincidentally, the 2022 version of the 100-ball format noticed the Oval Invincibles – primarily based at Surrey’s dwelling floor – win the ladies’s match, whereas the Trent Rockets had been topped males’s champions.
According to the ECB, greater than 500,000 individuals attended matches throughout this 12 months’s competitors, with a report 271,000 attending ladies’s matches.
More than 14m watched at the least among the match on Sky Sports – which shares a mother or father firm with Sky News – and the BBC, the ECB added.
Sanjay Patel, managing director of The Hundred, mentioned in September: “It’s been brilliant to see more families, more kids and record numbers attending the games this year.
“The Hundred is all about welcoming extra individuals into cricket, and it has delivered on that once more this 12 months.”
Bridgepoint’s interest in taking control of The Hundred would be designed to “turbocharge funding” into English cricket, and particularly into growing the ladies’s recreation, in response to one individual accustomed to its supply.
The personal fairness agency has an extended monitor report of investing into elite sport, having owned MotoGP for years in addition to InFront, the media rights company which helped to orchestrate the business growth of the Winter Olympics.
More just lately, it proposed a deal that will have seen it put money into the Women’s Super League in soccer, though talks didn’t lead to a proper settlement.
Bridgepoint’s supply for The Hundred has emerged at a time when deep-pocketed Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises put together to snap up main English gamers together with the England check captain Ben Stokes and his predecessor, Joe Root.
The county recreation’s funds have been parlous for a few years, with many sceptical that 50-over cricket will survive in the long run.
Earlier this month, England had been topped T20 World Champions after beating India within the ultimate in Melbourne, Australia.
Bridgepoint and the ECB each declined to remark.