The New Zealand Rugby Union is set to sell off management licences for four of its five Super Rugby franchises from 2013.
The NZRU will retain ownership of the Blues, the Chiefs, the Hurricanes and the Crusaders and will still be responsible for contracting of playing and coaching staff.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew says the Highlanders won't be included as they're already seeking other opportunities.
The decision has been mooted for some time by the NZRU.
The successful licensee will have the right to manage, operate, select and promote the team brand and the matches played by the team.