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US senator opens probe into PGA Tour, LIV Golf agreement

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on Monday asked the PGA Tour and LIV Golf for communications and records related to their planned merger.

Blumenthal, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), demanded details on how PGA Tour came to its agreement with LIV Golf and how any newly formed entity will be structured and operated, including how the PGA Tour intends to preserve its tax-exempt status.

The PGA Tour, DP World Tour and rival Saudi-backed LIV circuit, which had been involved in a bitter fight that split the sport, announced an agreement last week to merge and form one unified commercial entity.

“PGA Tour’s agreement with (Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund) regarding LIV Golf raises concerns about the Saudi government’s role in influencing this effort and the risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over a cherished American institution,” Blumenthal wrote.

The deal could be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.(CFIUS), a Treasury-led committee that assesses mergers to determine if they harm national security.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNBC last week that it was not immediately obvious that the PGA merger with LIV was a matter of national security.

Last week, Senator Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said U.S. officials should determine whether the deal would give the Saudis “improper control or access to U.S. real estate.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson, Rami Ayyub and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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