WWE near deal to be sold to UFC parent Endeavor, sources say
WWE Near Being Sold
World Wrestling Entertainment is in advanced talks to be sold to Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor Group, the parent company of UFC, according to people familiar with the matter.
A deal could be announced as soon as this Monday. UFC and WWE are expected to form a new publicly traded company as part of the agreement, according to the people, who declined to be named due to the confidential nature of the discussions.
Endeavor is slated to own 51% of the new combat sports and entertainment company, while WWE shareholders would get 49%, according to people. The Endeavor deal gives WWE an enterprise value of $9.3 billion.
Ari Emanuel is expected to act as chief executive of both Endeavor and the new company. Vince McMahon, likewise, is expected to be executive chairman, while Endeavor President Mark Shapiro will also work in the same role at the new company. Dana White will remain as president of UFC, while WWE CEO Nick Khan will serve as president of the wrestling business.
The development comes during the same weekend WWE hosts its biggest live event, WrestleMania, in California. The company has spent the past several months looking for a buyer. Vince McMahon returned to the company as chairman in January to oversee the process. Shares of WWE are up more than 33% so far this year, giving it a market value of more than $6.79 billion.
The deal will effectively end WWE’s decades-old status as a family-run business. Vince McMahon’s father founded WWE in its original incarnation during the middle of the 20th century, and Vince McMahon is the controlling shareholder in the company. Vince McMahon bought the company from his father in 1982. Since then, the company has grown into a global phenomenon, with stars such as Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dave Bautista and John Cena.
Vince McMahon, 77, retired from the company in July following a string of revelations that he paid several women millions of dollars over the years to keep them quiet about alleged affairs and misconduct. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, became co-CEO alongside Nick Khan. Paul Levesque, who’s both Stephanie McMahon’s husband and the wrestler known a