The Warriors' ownership has changed hands, for the second time in less than 18 months.

Autex Industries will become the sole owner of the NRL club, with the deal confirmed at the Warriors' end-of-season awards tonight.

After several weeks of negotiations, the Avondale-based company have agreed terms with the Carlaw Heritage Trust to buy their 67 per cent stake in the Warriors.

Autex managing director Rob Croot will remain as Warriors' chairman, while CEO Mark Robinson will be the senior director on the club's board.


Once settlement is completed, Croot and Robinson will appoint a new board.

CHT and Autex purchased the club off Eric Watson for $16 million in April 2018, with Autex taking a 33 per cent share of the joint venture arrangement.

It's understood that CHT have sold their share for significantly less than they paid for it, which will result in a multi-million dollar loss for the Trust.

But the CHT, which was set up with the proceeds of the development of Carlaw Park, have ultimately decided they couldn't afford to invest any more Trust money in an NRL club, with the Warriors expected to need significant funding over the next few years.

The trust also received a strong mandate from the Auckland clubs, who are their sole beneficiary.

At a special general meeting last Friday night, 20 of the 30 clubs supported a motion to sell the club, while only six voted against. There were four abstentions.

The move ends a partnership that begun with high hopes but ultimately floundered on differing visions, conflicting philosophies and a clash of personalities.

Warriors CEO Cameron George and Cameron McGregor shortly after the club was bought from Eric Watson for $16 million in May last year. Photo / Photosport
Warriors CEO Cameron George and Cameron McGregor shortly after the club was bought from Eric Watson for $16 million in May last year. Photo / Photosport

There were signs of unrest in the boardroom last December, when Cameron McGregor stepped down as chairman, replaced by Croot.


At the time McGregor implied it might just be a temporary measure, but it was clear evidence of friction between McGregor and the Autex representatives over the direction of the club, where and how money should be invested and the relationship with the local game.

The board became more fractured as this year progressed.

It became obvious that the joint venture was unlikely to function as it was over the long term.

In early August the ARL and the CHT attended a meeting convened by Autex to discuss a proposed buyout.

Later that month the CHT board passed a resolution to support a sale, though it also included provisions for a counter offer.

The ARL endorsed this resolution and a subsequent ARL board meeting in September solidified their position.

McGregor continued to argue, both privately and publicly, that a sale was not in the best interests of the CHT, ARL or the local game, pushing instead that the CHT should either maintain their shareholding or seek to buy out the Autex stake.

But that always seemed a remote prospect, and McGregor's position was weakened when he was removed from the CHT by the ARL on September 6th.

The long-time ARL chairman had a final chance to put his case last Friday, and outlined a vision that included a range of payments and funding to local clubs, partly based on axing the Warriors reserve grade team.

But that proposal failed to find favour with the clubs, leaving the sale to go through unimpeded.