A blockbuster UFC WWE merger means a new $21 billion giant on the block — here’s everything you need to know about the massive deal.
WWE‘s long-rumored sale became official Monday when Endeavor bought 51% of the wrestling giant and merged the pro wrestling organization with its UFC MMA promotion to form a new publicly traded sports and entertainment company valued at more than $21 billion, per a company announcement.
The deal valued WWE at $9.3 billion and UFC at $12.1 billion, now combined under Endeavor and previous WWE shareholders, and will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol TKO. The leading players in both fighting brands will remain in place:
- Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel will hold the same title with the new company
- WWE Executive Chairman Vince McMahon retains the same position at TKO
- Endeavor President Mark Shapiro will be the new company’s President and COO
- Dana White remains UFC Pesident
- Incumbent WWE CEO Nick Khan will adopt the title of President of the wrestling organization
Additionally, an 11-person Board of Directors is yet to be named — Endeavor will select six members, while WWE will choose five.
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” Emanuel in an official news release. “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.”
The sale cames a day after WrestleMania, WWE’s signature tentpole event, sold out two nights at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium.
As Vince McMahon added on the occasion:
“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. 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.”
Endeavor and other suitors, including Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund and other Middle East-based consortia, emerged in January and February when McMahon — formerly WWE’s largest shareholder — returned to the company to organize a strategic review and explore a sale. McMahon was reinstated as Executive Chairman in January after retiring in July amid reports that he’d paid more than $12 million over the last 16 years to conceal allegations of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Endeavor said a combined UFC and WWE would save $50-100 million per year in annual cost synergies in part by leveraging Endeavor’s back office and infrastructure.
“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,” McMahon said. “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.”
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