News about the WWE sale to Endeavor was one of the biggest stories of WrestleMania-Weekend.
Vince McMahon forced his way back into WWE in January, in part to help facilitate the sale of his company. After reports that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund would be purchasing the company soon after McMahon’s return, that wasn’t the case. Alex Sherman of CNBC reported on Sunday that Endeavor, the parent company of UFC, will be buying the promotion.
The article says that WWE and UFC will reportedly merge into a new publicly traded company. Endeavor would own 51% of that company, while WWE shareholders would control 49%. According to sources, WWE will now be valued at $9.3 billion dollars.
On Monday, Endeavor announced that WWE and UFC will merge into a unnamed $21+ billion global sports and entertainment company. McMahon will still be in charge of the new merger. He is expected to be the executive chairman. Endeavor owner, Ari Emmanuel, will serve as chief executive officer of the new company while maintaining that role with Endeavor. Mark Shapiro, president of Endeavor, will continue in that role for the new company. Nick Khan will remain president of the wrestling portion of the company, while Dana White will remain UFC president.
Vince McMahon comments on the deal
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”
McMahon said of the deal, “Given the incredible work that Ari and Endeavor have done to grow the UFC brand – nearly doubling its revenue over the past seven years – and the immense success we’ve already had in partnering with their team on a number of ventures, I believe that this is without a doubt the best outcome for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”
“Together, we will be a $21+ billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse with a collective fanbase of more than a billion people and an exciting growth opportunity. The new company will be well positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster our strong stable of brands. I, along with the current WWE management team, look forward to working closely with Ari and the Endeavor and UFC teams to take the businesses to the next level.”
HHH: ‘WWE isn’t going anywhere’
In a press conference following WrestleMania 39, Paul “Triple H” Levesque said he wouldn’t comment on the reported sale and wanted to focus on WrestleMania instead. He ended the press conference by making a promise “that no matter what happens here, WWE’s going nowhere. Just like it says when you tune in each week, ‘then, now, forever, together.’ We’re not going anywhere. We’re just getting started.”
With WWE reportedly selling to Endeavor, a lot of questions remain. How important is Endeavor’s 2% majority stake? Will Endeavor’s shareholders have concerns with McMahon’s character? Will WWE talent and staff pay rise? Will WWE premium live events cost $70 every month? Will WWE Network return to the US?
Since last year, WWE has been trying to overcome McMahon’s history of abusing his power to harm women. Prior to the reported sale, McMahon settled with former WWF referee, Rita Chatterton, who has maintained for decades that he raped her. Last week, it was reported that McMahon paid back the $17.4 million to WWE that they used to cover their investigations into misconduct. McMahon is expected to address the allegations which led to his “retirement” last year.
It should be noted that White was caught on video slapping his wife on New Year’s Eve. He apologized, but a UFC spokesperson didn’t issue a statement.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to Daily DDT for the latest.