In a groundbreaking move, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals has reportedly submitted a substantial buyout offer for the English domestic club Yorkshire County Cricket Club (CCC). If this offer is accepted, it would mark a historic moment as Yorkshire CCC would become the first county club to be owned by an overseas franchise.
Reports indicate that Rajasthan Royals has tabled a substantial £25 million (equivalent to approximately Rs 260 crore) offer. If the deal successfully materialises, it would grant the Royals full control over the club, effectively bringing an end to Yorkshire's more than 160-year history of member-only ownership.
The primary catalyst for Yorkshire CCC's interest in a takeover is its considerable debt, amounting to £15 million owed to the family trust of former chairman Colin Graves. Several potential buyers have expressed interest in assuming control of the county club. Additionally, there have been discussions between Yorkshire CCC and other IPL franchises, along with reported engagement with Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud, a Saudi prince.
A key distinction between the Rajasthan Royals' proposal and those from other parties lies in the demand for full ownership. Rajasthan Royals is seeking complete control of the club, departing from the member-only ownership structure that has endured for over a century and a half.
Regarding the debt resolution, the Royals plan to issue a loan note to Yorkshire CCC, with the intention of subsequently converting it into equity. The proposed offer from the inaugural IPL champions is set to be deliberated by Yorkshire's board of members in the latter stages of September 2023, with a final decision expected shortly thereafter.
Should the acquisition proceed, Rajasthan Royals will also explore entry into The Hundred, another significant development. It's noteworthy that Yorkshire CCC holds a substantial stake in The Hundred franchise, Northern Superchargers. This strategic move would serve to enhance the Royals' presence in England, aligning with their history of participation in numerous domestic tournaments worldwide.