South Africa’s only black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe, has taken a key stake in the country’s best performing rugby team, adding to his sporting interests as he already owns the national soccer champions.
Motsepe’s acquisition of a 37% stake in the Blue Bulls Co. gives him an equal stake to that of Remgro Ltd., a company controlled by South Africa’s richest man, Johann Rupert, according to a statement. The agreement was sealed Thursday, Alfons Meyer, the chief executive officer of the Pretoria-side said. The price of the deal wasn’t disclosed.
The deal, which had been much talked about and anticipated, was concluded on Thursday night in a meeting at Loftus Versfeld.
The new structure will mean that existing shareholders Remgro and the Blue Bulls Rugby Union reduced their previously equal percentage of shareholding from 50% each to 37% and 26% respectively, allowing Motsepe to take up the remaining 37%.
The Blue Bulls are South Africa’s only multiple winner of the prestigious Super Rugby competition, which includes teams from New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Argentina.
The president of the union, Willem Strauss, expressed his delight with the new signing.
“We put a lot of effort into making this possible over the last few months, and I am proud to say that all the union committee members unanimously voted in favour of the deal. I firmly believe that private investors will add immense value to our beautiful game.
“The benefits of this deal are not only to the company at the professional level, it will also make a positive impact on our amateur rugby, at schools, clubs and development levels. We are privileged and excited to have partners like Mr Motsepe in our corner,” he said.
Since the news broke, social media has been abuzz with interesting and amusing commentary. Some suggested that he buy Loftus Versfeld since it was the home ground for Sundowns and the Bulls.
Other suggested that he buy the Union Buildings since he was buying all things Pretoria. And others called for him to be the next president of the country.
On a more serious note, some suggested that the deal was a move in the right direction to galvanise more black interest in the perceived white sport. It was believed that the many Sundowns supporters would support the Bulls, which would allow for more unity and integration.
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