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SBD Global/May 22, 2013/Franchises

NRL Melbourne Storm's New Owners Revealed As Consortium Takes Control Of Club

The "protracted handover" of National Rugby League Melbourne Storm from News Ltd. to a private ownership group known as Holding MS Australia "finally took place" late Monday, according to Steve Mascord of THE AGE. New Zealand businessman Bart Campbell was unveiled as the Storm's new chairman while English rugby union administrator Mark Evans will assume control as CEO. Club Founder John Ribot said that more prominent businessmen "are likely to join the consortium" that has taken control of Melbourne. Melbourne business identities Gerry Ryan and Matthew Tripp "were identified" on Tuesday as other members of the new ownership group, although their names and those of any others involved "were not confirmed by the club." Ribot: ''I think the group of people that is there now is already exciting for Melbourne Storm fans and for rugby league. But if we wait a couple of weeks, depending on a few things, then the people involved could add another dynamic to it completely. It could be even more exciting'' (THE AGE, 5/22). In Sydney, Stuart Honeysett reported the consortium "sounded out the NRL before Christmas over the code's commitment to the growth of the game in the AFL's heartland before agreeing to sign on the dotted line." Campbell "met various NRL heavyweights" including Chair John Grant, Head of Strategy Shane Mattiske and CEO Dave Smith "on at least three occasions to discuss the sale." The first meeting occurred before Christmas, the second in February and another was staged at the club's Anzac Day clash against the Warriors at AAMI Park. Campbell, who has ties to some of the world's best-known sporting identities, "was keen to know what the NRL could do to help the Storm prosper in terms of scheduling, promotion and membership" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/22).
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