Russell Crowe and James Packer, owners and investors in the South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL team, have agreed to waive a $7 million debt owed by the club.
The agreement means the club has a net asset position of $6.05 million, putting it in the best financial position in its history.
The announcement was made at the South Sydney Members District Rugby League Football Club AGM yesterday, and closed a decade-long period of liability to private investors.
Former investor Peter Holmes a Court and Crowe loaned the club a combined $6.15 million between 2006 and 2008, on top of the $3 million the pair outlaid to buy 75% of the club in 2005.
Packer then bought a 37.5% stake in the foundation club from Holmes a Court in 2014, which included paying the chairman of investment company White Bull Holdings the $4.5 million he was owed by Souths.
The waived debt is a boost to the $1.5 million profit the Souths made last year — the biggest of any NRL club — and at a time when the Rabbitohs have more members (29,401) than any other team in the NRL.
“It’s a triumphant day for members and our investors because you don’t get these sort of debts forgiven regularly,” Souths chairman Nick Pappas said.
“We’re delighted but frankly it doesn’t come as a surprise because our investors aren’t in this for the money. They are in it to keep South Sydney in the position it is in for many years to come.”