CVC Capital Partners look set to take a 14.5 per cent stake in the Six Nations in a move that could net the IRFU as much as £70m over the next five years.
World Rugby vice-chairman and FFR president Bernard Laporte has told the French union's general assembly that the investment is imminent. Although previously the deal was reported to be worth £300m between the six unions involved, indications are that the figure may rise to £400m over five years.
Having already taken a stake in the English Premiership and the Guinness PRO14, the investment firm were close to moving on the gleaming jewel in northern hemisphere rugby's crown before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March and the unions put talks on hold.
It now looks like it will go through in the coming weeks in a major boost to all six stakeholders reeling from rugby's stoppage. A Six Nations spokesperson said: "Discussions with CVC are ongoing. We will not comment further at this stage based on the confidential nature of these discussions."
The deal could have a knock-on effect for the IRFU's hopes of securing agreement on a proposed 20 per cent pay cut with players.
CVC's investment in the PRO14 already netted the union £5m, the first tranche of a £30m sum it will receive over the next three years. In return for its stake, the Luxembourg-based firm - which previously had a major interest in Formula One - would take control of the tournament's commercial rights in the hope of increasing the value of broadcast and sponsorship agreements.