UFC Puts The Smackdown On WWE and Acquires The Company At A $9.3 Billion Valuation
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has a new owner.
Forbes reported Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., the group that runs Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), acquired the organization at a valuation of $9.3 billion. This is a huge collaboration of two of the biggest names in sports entertainment. Combined, the company is valued at $21.4 billion.
Endeavor will take a 51% controlling interest in the new company. Existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49% stake.
According to NPR, the controversial executive chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon, will continue to serve in the same role at the new company. Dana White will continue as president of UFC, and Nick Khan will become president at WWE.
McMahon said he’s excited about the opportunity for growth. Some of the new focuses of the business will be to maximize the value of combined media rights, enhance sponsorship, develop new content, and more. “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 77-year-old said in a statement.
This shouldn’t be a challenging task for the organization as they already have heavy-hitter talents like Bobby Lashley, Naomi, and The New Day, under its belt. While the deal looks solid from the outside looking in, some analysts are giving it a side eye as the terms look misleading. One analyst, Vasily Karasyov, claims the acquisition is not a “‘sale’ exactly” since WWE shareholders are not being bought out. Others pointed out that the nameless joint company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker TKO, paying homage to the abbreviation for a technical knockout.
Rumors of the sale started in January when McMahon returned to the company after leaving last summer after several sexual misconduct allegations were made against him. Other companies that were in the running to secure the deal were Disney, Fox, Comcast, Amazon, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund; however, McMahon said Endeavor came out on top.
“It makes all the sense in the world for all these synergies that we have to extract all of the value that we can out of the marketplace.”