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NZ Rugby to sell ‘NZ$1.7m’ share in the Blues

Local investor consortium agrees deal to support Super Rugby club’s growth.

4 January 2022 Rory Jones

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  • NZR has held 40% Blues stake since 2018
  • Provincial unions of Auckland, Northland and North Harbour own remaining 60%

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has agreed a deal to sell its 40 per cent stake in Auckland-based Super Rugby outfit the Blues to The Better Blues Company Limited, a consortium of local investors.

That 40 per cent share, reportedly worth NZ$1.7 million (US$1.2 million) according to Stuff, was acquired back by NZR in 2018 from the club’s former private owners.

The 12-man Better Blues consortium, which agreed the transaction prior to Christmas, was formed specifically for the investment and consists of investors who have all been involved in rugby. Better Blues says its aim is to support the club’s growth while working in tandem with the regional provincial unions of Aukland, Northland and North Harbour.

The three provincial unions will continue to control the remaining 60 per cent of the Blues, having acquired the share in 2013.

“The Blues are delighted to have attracted such a respected group of investors who include some of the leading business people in this country,” said Blues chairman Don McKinnon.

“Their decision to make such a significant investment in the club shows the progress we have made on and off the field and the confidence in the direction in which we are heading. This is further reason to be excited for the future of this club.”

John Hart, former All Blacks coach and member of Better Blues, added: “The Blues is an organisation which is now populated by excellent people under the leadership of chief executive Andrew Hore. We see our role as providing stability, support and continuity to the existing board and management.

“We look forward, as long-term investors, to working with the Blues Board and management alongside our fellow provincial union shareholders Auckland, North Harbour and Northland, and doing all we can in supporting the growth of rugby in the region.”

In addition to Hart, Manfreight director Don Braid, real estate company owner Peter Thompson and millionaire Stephen Lockwood are all part of the Better Blues consortium. The deal will be officially signed imminently after some minor transactional processes are ticked off.

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