June 19, 2024

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PGA Saudi LIV one year later active discussions merger

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The PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf have been in active discussions, according to a person familiar with the matter, one year after the two entities stunned the world when they announced on CNBC that they had agreed in principle to join forces.

The talks between the tour and Saudi Public Investment Fund, which backs LIV Golf, are “extremely active,” the person said.

The newly created seven-person PGA Tour transaction committee — which includes Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Fenway Sports Group’s John Henry — and PIF representatives have been meeting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in a mix of in person and remote meetings over the past month, the person added.

The group will meet in person in New York on Friday, with the exception of McIlroy, who will join remotely.

A PGA Tour representative declined comment. Representatives for LIV and PIF didn’t respond.

When the tour’s Commissioner Jay Monahan and Saudi PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan announced the proposed combination on CNBC last June, it surprised many after a bitter legal feud between the two competing leagues.

The proposed deal deadline, originally set for Dec. 31, 2023, was extended. The tour has also since agreed to let U.S. investors enter the mix.

The deal hasn’t been finalized. But the sides have exchanged term sheets, and they have mostly agreed upon the financial part of the agreement, the person familiar said, with the Saudis and the consortium of investors agreeing to kick in another $1.5 billion each to the tour. The deal will reportedly be structured similar to their deal with the Strategic Sports Group, a consortium of invstors. The sides are now focusing on product related decisions involving players, schedules, tournaments and media rights, the person added.

The discussions don’t mean a deal is imminent, but the pace of the process has picked up as Al-Rumayyan sometimes attends the weekly meetings, the person said.

The New York Times’ DealBook earlier reported on the discussions.


2024-06-06 12:01:37

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