New Zealand Rugby has completed a first-of-its-kind deal with financial equity firm Silver Lake that will see the firm acquire a 5-8% stake in future earnings against injection of 200 Million New Zealand Dollars (NZD).

A special general meeting of New Zealand Rugby in Auckland saw the majority of the Unions vote in favor of the deal which was seen as the final step in the approval process for the groundbreaking accord.

NZR chairman Stewart Mitchell described the deal as a “monumental moment” for the sport.

The cash injection will into the NZR will be used to improve player pay, support grassroots rugby, and shore up finances that have been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

NZ$37 million is expected to be used immediately upon the completion of legal formalities. NZD$1 million will be given to New Zealand’s top-level provinces with 500,000 NZD reserved for lower-tiered provinces.

2 million will go to Maori rugby with 7.5 million going to clubs and 5 million NZD going to the players association.

An additional investment ranging from NZ$62.5 to NZ$100 million will be offered to New Zealand-based institutional investors later this year.

The deal will give rise to an entity called CommLP which will hold all New Zealand Rugby commercial assets and in which Silver Lake will have a minority stake.

The deal has been controversial, however, with some New Zealanders resistant to the idea of any level of foreign ownership of the famous All Blacks brand.

Silver Lake has more than $88 billion in assets and is one of the largest technology investors in the world.

Their previous investments in the sports market include stakes in City Football Group, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and Madison Square Garden Sports, which owns the NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers.