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Fenway moves forward in final talks to invest in PGA Tour’s Saudi deal

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Tiger Woods wipes his driver grip on the 18th tee box during the first round of the PGA TOUR Champions PNC Championship at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club on December 17, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.
Ben Jared | PGA Tour | Getty Images

A coalition of U.S. sports investors led by Fenway Sports Group have entered the final round of negotiations to become co-investors in a potential deal between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the PGA Tour announced on Sunday.

The Fenway-led consortium, named Strategic Sports Group, includes a variety of investor and private equity names like Celtics majority stake owner Wyc Grousbeck, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and Cohen Private Ventures, a venture capital firm of New York Mets owner Steve Cohen.

The investor list also includes Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, Liverpool Football Club owner John Henry and Boston Red Sox owner Tom Werner among others.

The announcement noted that Strategic Sports Group had been selected after a rigorous review of other outside investor offers. The PGA Tour had previously turned down a proposal from TKO majority owner Endeavor Group Holdings.

As it narrows down its investor pool, the PGA Tour said it would aim to further negotiations with the Saudi PIF in the coming weeks.

The news comes as time is running out for the PGA Tour to secure the long-awaited deal with the PIF, which owns the DP World Tour and LIV Golf. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan previously said that the parties would aim to finish the deal by Dec. 31.

The PGA Tour and the PIF agreed to the merger in June but have gone back and forth on the specific deal terms due partially to resistance from big-name PGA Tour players like Rory McIlroy. The deal also faced probing from lawmakers who are skeptical of Saudi Arabia’s intentions, claiming that the country might be trying to gain influence in the U.S. via sports investment.

CNBC’s Jessica Golden contributed to this report.

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