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ECB finalises process for Hundred private investment

Proceeds from selling stakes in teams to be split between counties and recreational game

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Anya Shrubsole holds the Women's Hundred trophy aloft, Southern Brave vs Northern Superchargers, Women's Hundred final, Lord's, August 27, 2023

Private equity interest in the Hundred is set to benefit the English game as a whole  •  Getty Images

The ECB's leadership believe that private investment will take the Hundred "to the next level" and turn it into the world's second-biggest franchise league after the IPL. The board has confirmed its financial advisors and legal counsel for the sale process, which it aims to complete by the end of this year ahead of a revamped competition in 2025.
Earlier this month, the counties signalled their approval on the ECB's proposed "direction of travel". They all stand to benefit financially from the sale of stakes in the eight Hundred teams - who are all owned by the ECB - to private investors, which is likely to include IPL owners and private equity firms.
There has been extensive discussions over the proposed model but there is now broad agreement over the mechanism by which the proceeds would be split. Initially, the ECB will hand 51% of the shares in the eight teams to the host counties (MCC in London Spirit's case) for free. They will then decide whether to keep all, some, or none of their respective stakes.
The ECB will then sell its 49% stake, with 10% given to the recreational game in England and Wales and the rest shared by the counties. The first £275 million would be shared 19 ways (between the 18 first-class counties and MCC). The next £150 million would then be shared between the 11 non-hosts only, and any proceeds beyond £425 million would be shared 19 ways again.
Vikram Banerjee, the ECB's director of business operations, has led the process. He said in an ECB press release - the first public communication by the board on the privatisation of the Hundred - that it would "unlock the future potential" of the Hundred while supporting the rest of the sport financially.
"We have identified this moment as the opportunity to take the Hundred to the next level while capitalising on the global interest in the competition to underpin the structure of the whole domestic game," Banerjee said. "The opportunity to engage new global strategic partners will help us unlock the future potential of the Hundred.
"We will be looking to engage the very best in world sport to grow the Hundred into a competition which can benefit the whole of cricket for years to come. With proceeds from any investment going direct to the recreational and the county game, it will support the other parts of cricket which are so cherished by fans and players alike and play an important role in identifying and developing talent."
The ECB said that the Hundred will play "a vital role in the future of our sport" and that counties have been supportive of their plans. "The ambition is to seek partners with the expertise to help take the competition to the next level, while ensuring any investment benefits the whole of the game," the board said.
"The ECB will continue working closely and collaboratively with its members through the process, including finalising how proceeds will be distributed among the first-class counties, MCC and the recreational game."
The Raine Group, which worked on the recent sales processes at Premier League football clubs Chelsea and Manchester United, will be the lead advisor and has been tasked with sourcing partners and negotiating the terms of investment. Deloitte, one of the "big four" accounting firms, will provide strategic advice, while Latham & Watkins and Onside Law will act as legal co-counsel.
The Hundred will run from July 23 until August 18 this year, and the ECB hopes to use this season as a shop window for prospective investors. The first six days of the season will clash with Major League Cricket, which could cause as many as half of the men's overseas players to arrive late.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98