REPORT: UFC owner Endeavor nears deal to buy WWE

Image Courtesy: WWE

6.50 pm ET update: The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have both published stories corroborating CNBC’s reporting.

CNBC has reported that Endeavor is in advanced plans to buy WWE.

Endeavor is the parent company of the UFC. The deal could be announced as soon as Monday, according to Alex Sherman, who cites “people familiar with the matter.”

The UFC and WWE would remain separately run but would merge to form one new publicly traded company under the reported deal.

The article states that Endeavor would own 51% of the new sports and entertainment company, with WWE shareholders owning the remaining 49%. The Endeavor deal would give WWE an enterprise value of $9.3 billion.

Also according to the report, Ari Emanuel, the current CEO of Endeavor, is expected to act as Chief Executive of both Endeavor and the newly formed company. Vince McMahon is expected to be Executive Chairman of the new company.

Endeavor President Mark Shapiro would retain his role. Dana White would remain President of the UFC, with Nick Khan serving as President of WWE in the new set-up.

The article outlines a high level of detail of the reported deal but states that its sources declined to be named due to the confidential nature of the discussions.

Vince McMahon stepped down from an active role in WWE last summer amid multiple allegations of serious sexual misconduct and a company investigation into payments made to his alleged victims.

He returned to the WWE Board of Directors in January after an exchange of letters in December 2022.

McMahon wrote a letter to the Board on December 20th, 2022, stating that it was “critical” that he rejoin the Board as Executive Chairman to explore “strategic alternatives” and pursue media rights negotiations.

The Board initially rebuffed this unanimously in a reply on December 27th. However, McMahon, who controls around 80% of WWE voting stock, then wrote again, stating, in part:

I would like to be clear that unless I have direct involvement and input as Executive Chairman from the outset, I will not be able to support or approve any media rights deals or strategic transaction (including any commitments made by or on behalf of the Company regarding a potential transaction or process).

The Board then unanimously reversed its position, appointing McMahon Executive Chairman, as well as former WWE Presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios. They took up their current posts on January 6th.

Stephanie McMahon resigned as co-CEO less than a week later on January 10th.

About Neal Flanagan 737 Articles
Based in Northern Ireland, Neal Flanagan is a former newspaper journalist and copy editor. In addition to reporting for POST Wrestling, he co-hosts The Wellness Policy podcast with Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman.