Five days after Vince McMahon forced his return to WWE in order to pursue either a sell of the company or media rights, Saudi Arabia has reportedly bought the company.
This comes just hours after Stephanie McMahon announced her resignation from the company and the board.
Cassidy Haynes of BodySlam.net tweeted that “the Saudi deal is done and they’re taking the company private.”
DAZN’s Steven Muehlhausen tweeted that sources told him that WWE has been sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and that the company will be going back private. He said it is unknown if Vince will return to the head of creative, but some people are expecting it.
Amid speculation of the alleged news, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful has noted that he has “no actual information thus far to indicate this is actually happening, outside of a few vague hinting messages from people outside of WWE.” He also has heard a rumor that WWE will go private if a deal is done, but has yet to confirm anything.
Brett Brookhouse of CBS Sports has also been unable to confirm the report that WWE has been sold to Saudi Arabia. While all the information is “hitting the same notes”, he points out that the rumors could’ve all had the same starting point and spread outward, even if it’s incorrect.
Update on potential WWE sale
Haynes tweeted after midnight that a deal has been agreed to “in principle”, but is not done. WWE has to provide notice to shareholders and there are other legalities.
Dave Meltzer and Garret Gonzales did an emergency episode of Wrestling Observer Radio late Tuesday night. It was emphasized that it is not a done deal. The television deal will be the biggest point moving forward. It is believed that Vince began working on a deal with Saudi Arabia as soon as he “retired”. He’s been talking with them for months and this deal is not out of nowhere.
Ariel Helwani provided an update on Wednesday morning saying there is “no deal in place at the moment for WWE to be sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund or any entity.”
WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia
WWE has a relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it has been running Crown Jewel events since 2018. They have a 10-year deal in place to run annual shows there.
If WWE has in fact been sold to Saudi Arabia, this is a cause for concern for many wrestlers and employees. This is especially true for those who are Muslim, in the LGBTQ+ community, and women. With Stephanie’s resignation, WWE has lost the most powerful woman in the company and in the professional wrestling industry.
WWE going private would lead to even less accountability for Vince as there would be no board or shareholders to answer to. The reported sale comes just weeks after another woman came forward about being assaulted by the newly-elected Executive Chairman. He retired last year after it was discovered that he paid $19 million dollars to six women. We know that former referee, Rita Chatterton says he raped her in 1986. In 2006, groped a Florida tanning salon employee. These are just the women we know about. There are likely more and now that he’s back in a position of power, it could happen again. With no one holding him accountable, it could be dangerous.
This story is still developing. Follow Daily DDT for the latest.