Memo: Tour ‘focused on negotiations’ with PIF, other potential investors

Memo: Tour ‘focused on negotiations’ with PIF, other potential investors
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In what was described as a marathon session Monday, the PGA Tour’s policy board spent the bulk of the day reviewing “outside investment” and “player programs,” according to a memo sent to players early Tuesday.

“We continue to remain focused on our negotiations toward a definitive agreement with PIF and the DP World Tour as our priority. Progress has been deliberate given the complex nature of the potential agreement, and we will keep you apprised of the progress, with continued input and direction from your [six] player directors and player advisor Colin Neville,” the memo from commissioner Jay Monahan read.

The Tour is currently negotiating with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia to create a new, for-profit entity that would include the Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour.

The memo also addressed the “unsolicited interest from numerous outside potential investors.” Last week, the CEO of Fenway Sports Group acknowledged they have contacted the Tour about a potential investment and according to Monahan’s memo, there were “dozens of inbound prospects.”

“In the policy board meeting, we reviewed these remaining bids with the independent directors and player directors and agreed to continue the negotiation process in order to select the final minority investor(s) in a timely manner,” the memo read.

The memo also addressed the potential for player equity in the for-profit entity, which is currently being called PGA Tour Enterprises.

“Tour management has designed a program that would align the interests of our members with the commercial business of the Tour via direct equity ownership in PGA Tour Enterprises,” the memo read.

“At the point we secure outside investment, this would be a unique offering in professional sports, as no other league grants its players/members direct equity ownership in the league’s business. We recognize – as do all of the prospective minority investors who are in dialogue with us – that the PGA Tour will be stronger with our players more closely aligned with the commercial success of the business,” the memo read.

The memo gave no indication whether the Tour would be able to reach a definitive agreement with either the PIF or another investor before the Dec. 31 deadline.

The board also approved a new independent director to replace Randall Stephenson, who resigned from the board following the announcement of the framework agreement between the Tour and PIF in June. Valero Energy Corporation executive chairman Joe Gorder will join Ed Herlihy (chairman), Jimmy Dunne, Mark Flaherty and Mary Meeker as independent directors.

Patrick Cantlay was also reappointed to serve as the fifth player director along with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Charley Hoffman and Peter Malnati.

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