Fresh off what is being touted as the most attended, most lucrative WrestleMania weekend ever, WWE is set to change forever following the sale of the company to the Endeavor Group. The sale, which will see the publically traded WWE company merge with Endeavor’s UFC under a new, combined publically traded company was announced via social media on both Endeavor and WWE’s channels.
According to the agreement, WWE shareholders will own 49% of the combined firm, while Endeavor, the owner of UFC, will own 51%.
“Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EDR) (“Endeavor”) and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) (“WWE”) today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to form a new, publicly listed company consisting of two iconic, complementary, global sports and entertainment brands: UFC and WWE. Upon close, Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49% interest in the new company.“Endeavor Press Release
In premarket trading, shares of Endeavor jumped 4% while those of WWE fell 4.5%. The newly united firm is valued at nearly $21 billion, thanks to the agreement. UFC was noted as being worth $12.1 billion, while WWE is at $9.3 billion.
In the statement to the press, Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, stated, “This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed. For decades, Vince [McMahon] 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.”
Further to this, Vincent K. McMahon, Executive Chairman of WWE, added, “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. ogether, 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.”
In terms of leadership of the new entity, going forward, Ari Emanuel, will continue his role as Chief Executive Officer of Endeavor, Vince McMahon will sidestep as the Executive Chairman of the Board, and Mark Shapiro will serve as President and COO of both Endeavor and the new firm. Both Dana White and Nick Khan will remain in their positions as President of UFC and WWE, respectively. Eleven people will make up the Board of Directors; six will be chosen by Endeavor and five by WWE. These individuals will be nominated at a later time.
The sale of WWE comes after months of speculation and intrigue following McMahon’s return to the company at the turn of 2023. Vince McMahon retired in disgrace in July of 2022 following a Wall Street Journal report that disclosed a WWE board probe into a covert $3 million settlement McMahon had provided to a former WWE paralegal; McMahon had already resigned from his position as Chairman and CEO. Yet, McMahon continued to lead WWE creative at the time, and sources informed ESPN that McMahon’s resignation was made purely for show. The retirement didn’t last very long. Less than a year after charges of sexual misbehaviour forced the former him to presumably ride off into the sunset, McMahon’s return to the organisation was rumoured to be in order to investigate the prospect of a sale.
The wrestling world awaits further news as to what this sale/merger means for the day to day operations of WWE. Fans will tune into the RAW After WrestleMania tonight for more but are unlikely to receive it.
What do you think of the news? Are you excited for this new combined WWE/UFC company? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below or sound of on our social media channels, @JEZSports.