CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm, is in negotiations regarding a $600 million deal that would merge the ATP and WTA, the top men’s and women’s professional tennis tours.
The merger, reported by Sky News, would place the ATP and WTA’s commercial activities under one roof.
The single entity would be called One Tennis, with CVC holding a minority interest in the combined company.
CVC established legitimacy in sports as an owner of Formula 1. The private equity firm acquired the motorsports business in 2006 for $2 billion. It had a value of $8 billion after it was sold to Liberty Media in 2017.
The desire to merge the ATP and WTA adds to recent transactions CVC has made to expand its reach and diversify its sports investments.
- Invested $300 million in the International Volleyball Federation in February to launch Volleyball World. The new entity will operate tournaments such as qualifiers for the Olympic Games.
- Agreed to a long-term strategic partnership in March with Six Nations Rugby. The partnership will help grow the game and enhance the organization’s prestigious tournaments.
- Started negotiations to acquire a stake in the Currie Cup, South Africa’s premier domestic rugby union competition.
Tennis has suffered amid the pandemic, and CVC believes that combining the two tours can expedite the sport’s recovery and help revenue disparity.
Before the pandemic, the ATP generated almost $150 million in revenue annually, while the WTA made only about half that.