The Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby franchise has today been confirmed to have been bought by a company owned by Christchurch-born businessman Andrew Cox.

The Australian Rugby Union and Victorian Rugby Union today confirmed the sale of the Rebels to the Melbourne-based investment company Imperium Group, which is owned by Cox.

"We've been discussing the sale of the Melbourne Rebels to ICG (Imperium Group) in recent months and we're pleased to have reached agreement on the key terms of the deal," said ARU CEO Bill Pulver, who expect the transaction to be completed by June 30.

Cox will add the investment to his portfolio which includes two luxury Queenstown hotels - the Spire Hotel and Eichardt's Private Hotel, which is set to undergo an upgrade later this year.


Melbourne Rebels Chairman Jonathan Ling said, "This transaction when completed will secure the financial future of the Club. Our CEO, Peter Leahy, was charged by the Board to bring stability and certainty to the Club's future on and off the field, and in entering into an agreement with the ICG he has delivered just that."

The Rebels are currently in the middle of their most successful season to date, currently sitting in 10th on the Super Rugby ladder with 29 points. The franchise have never finished above 12th in their four-year history.