The licence for the Auckland Blues Super 15 franchise has been partially sold-off to a private investment firm, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said Friday. NZRU chairman 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 Wellington Hurricanes and Canterbury Crusaders agreed to similar ownership deals last year. The NZRU said progress was being made on finding an investor for defending Super 15 champions the Waikato Chiefs. New Zealand\'s only other Super 15 side, the financially struggling Otago Highlanders, was not included in the sale process.