Blues partially privatised
Wellington - The licence for the Blues Super Rugby franchise has been partially sold-off to a private investment firm, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said on Friday.
NZRU chairperson Steve Tew said the joint-ownership deal, which involves Auckland-based Bolton Equities taking a 40 percent stake in the club, was part of a plan to put New Zealand's clubs on a stronger financial footing.
"With fresh thinking and new capital we believe the Blues will be better equipped to face the challenges ahead," he said in a statement.
It is the latest in a series of moves by the NZRU to improve its finances, including a deal unveiled last year for the All Blacks to wear a sponsor's logo on their jerseys for only the second time in their 108-year history.
The Hurricanes and Crusaders agreed to similar ownership deals last year.
The NZRU said progress was being made on finding an investor for defending Super Rugby champions the Chiefs.
New Zealand's only other Super Rugby side, the financially struggling Highlanders, was not included in the sale process.