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Chicago MLS franchise sold to Andell Holdings

LOS ANGELES -- Private investment firm Andell Holdings has closed its deal to buy the Chicago Fire soccer team from sports giant Anschutz Entertainment Group, the companies said.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Closing of the deal was to be announced Thursday.

Andell Holdings chief executive Andrew Hauptman said he has no immediate plans for the franchise, but intends to build a winning team.

"We invest to win and this is going to be no different," Hauptman said. "We want to bring a renewed focus and passion and resources to the organization."

Andell, based in Los Angeles, has investments in a variety of industries, including entertainment, sports and consumer products.

The company's entertainment division has produced films, including the upcoming United Artists feature "Lions for Lambs," starring Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

The company recently announced a deal with NFL Films to produce a biographical movie on the life of legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. The film will be based partly on the Jerry Kramer book "Instant Replay."

AEG, a unit of Denver-based Anschutz Co., will continue to have interests in two other MLS teams, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo, and Hammarby Football Club in Sweden. The company, recently sold the operating rights to DC United for a league-record $33 million.

Hauptman said he bought the team because of the growing popularity of soccer worldwide and the enthusiasm of Chicago sports fans.

"Who in their right minds wouldn't want to own a sports team in Chicago?" Hauptman said. "It's the global game. We're interested in seeing it grow further in the U.S. and in Chicago."