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PGA Tour says LIV merger attracts unsolicited investor interest

(Reuters) – PGA Tour said its planned merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf and DP World Tour has garnered unsolicited interest from investors as it continues to finalise an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour.

The PGA said that while it did not solicit additional investment interest, it has a responsibility to members, sponsors and fans to thoroughly evaluate all potential options.

“Our focus continues to be on finalizing an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour, however, our negotiations have resulted in unsolicited interest from other investors,” PGA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Any investments that come from the talks will be made into PGA Tour Enterprises, a subsidiary of the PGA Tour, which it would permanently control.

Bloomberg News, which earlier reported the news, said inclusion of outside investors could help appease politicians who have voiced concerns the deal would amount to a takeover of a U.S. institution by LIV Golf, bankrolled by the PIF.

PGA said additional investor interest is not about politics, but because the PGA Tour has, for the first time, created an investment vehicle in PGA TOUR Enterprises and its business is strong.

PGA added talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and DP World are progressing, with the goal of reaching a definitive agreement by Dec. 31.

The world of golf was stunned in June as the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV circuit, who have been involved in a bitter fight that has split the sport, announced an agreement to merge and form one unified commercial entity.

The announcement raised concerns in Washington from lawmakers who are mistrustful of the kingdom and critical of its human rights record. They have vowed to take a deep look into the deal.

(Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese)

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