Forty-three years after Vince McMahon founded the company now known as WWE and 70 years after his father’s entry into professional wrestling, the McMahon family seems ready to give up control of his empire. them, signed a multi-billion dollar deal to sell WWE. WWE to make an effort, Hollywood Reporter confirmed.
Assuming the deal is completed, WWE will likely be merged with Endeavor’s UFC to create a new, independent public company, with the Ari Emanuel-led company holding the majority stake. CNBC first reported on the Endeavor deal.
The companies are in advanced negotiations and a deal could be announced this week. WWE will be hosting its flagship Wrestlemania event in Los Angeles over the weekend.
The potential sale comes after McMahon returned to the sports entertainment company in January as executive chairman. In 2022, he quit his job at the company amid a board investigation of misconduct. McMahon was succeeded as CEO by his daughter Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan, a former TV co-director of the CAA, who joined WWE as president in 2020. In January, Stephanie joined WWE as president. left her role after her father returned.
The board’s investigation into McMahon focuses on allegations that he had an affair with employees at the company and then paid the women millions of dollars in severance pay. , along with non-disclosure agreements. The company said in November that the investigation was closed.
McMahon remained a majority shareholder of WWE, leading to speculation even then that he might pursue the sale.
Endeavor, owner of mixed martial arts promoter UFC, talent super agency WME and other businesses like IMG and Professional Bull Riders, is a natural fit for WWE. Since going public in 2021, Endeavor has sought to build its own sporting events business, primarily through the UFC and to a lesser extent PBR. WWE superstars have also regularly turned to film and television, with some, like Dwayne Johnson (stage name “The Rock”) and John Cena finding mainstream appeal.
A combined UFC and WME could also work together in some rights negotiations.
Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel “hasn’t been shy about showing his interest in WWE ever since the minute Vince McMahon retired from the company,” LightShed analysts Brandon Ross, Richard Greenfield and Mark Kelley have said. 12 report. “He believes he can unlock value for WWE in the same way he did for the UFC, which he acquired prior to the last renewal cycle. their rights, by negotiating rights agreements and allocating substantial amounts of funding.”
Ultimately, the deal being discussed is stock-focused, rather than cash-focused, with WWE shareholders moving their equity into the new venture.