Nick Khan asked Vince McMahon if the ‘scuttlebutt’ about a sale was just so that McMahon could get back into WWE

Photo Courtesy: The Volume/Colin Cowherd

When there were rumors of a sale, Nick Khan asked Vince McMahon about his intentions. 

The day after WrestleMania 39, WWE pushed out the announcement that they reached an agreement with Endeavor to bring WWE under their umbrella. WWE is going to be merging with UFC to form a new sports and entertainment company called ‘TKO Group Holdings’

Leading up to the the official announcement of the sale, there were many rumors about the company being sold and talents and executives alike were asked about it. 

WWE CEO Nick Khan was the focus of a conversation at MoffettNathanson’s Inaugural Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference. He recalled asking Vince McMahon if the rumors of a sale was just his way of getting back into WWE and McMahon expressed that he was committed to helping with the process and gave his word on that. 

Can’t discuss that. Kidding. Can discuss that, don’t worry (Khan said when asked what drove WWE to the agreement with Endeavor/merger with UFC). There’s a couple things on it. When he (Vince McMahon) came back, again, the term was ‘first strategic alternatives’ and he and I had a private conversation which he’s certainly comfortable with me sharing today where I said, ‘Hey, just tell me is this real because there’s some scuttlebutt out there that maybe this is just your way to come back in to your company,’ which again, he would have the right to do also and he said, ‘No, I’m committed to it. I give you my word.’ Raine (Group) was the lead banker on the transaction. Vince said, ‘I wanna make sure WWE has a strong banker on it.’ That’s gonna be management’s decision and then the Board of course would need to have some sort of representation as well so he gave me his word that he was serious about the process. Lo and behold, he was serious about the process and the deal was finalized April 1st and announced the morning of April 3rd before the market opened.

WWE’s Raw program is on USA Network within the NBCUniversal umbrella and SmackDown is on FOX. Khan said WWE’s preference is to continue doing business with those respective companies as it relates to Raw and SmackDown. 

So, lot of conversation (over) the past couple of days about the U.S. media rights so let’s talk about that first if that’s okay, and by the way, in terms of the next 12 months, it’s U.S. and U.K. and then everything internationally is beyond the next 12 months so that’s the hyperfocus for now. So, FOX and NBCU have obviously been great partners to us. I think Lachlan Murdoch was here yesterday, talked about the partnership. Like any negotiation, they wanna pay as little as they can, same for NBCU. We want as much as they can. So our preference would be to stay in business with both of those partners on Raw and SmackDown. That being said, in terms of live content that delivers, we have to make sure — it’s always been my mantra even when I was an agent at C.A.A., to underpromise and overdeliver. So there’s obviously a lot of documents that have been filed with the transaction, with projections and all of these things. The hope is to have a material increase in the way there was a material increase last time. The reality of it is that we’re going to get a really good increase for both of these properties. It’s too early yet to say is it 1.5 x? Is it greater than 1.5 x? But if you’re in the underpromise and overdeliver category, I’d rather go on the low end and we’ll see in 6-12 months exactly how it plays out.

To read an SEC filing about the potential suitors during the process that led to WWE’s agreement with Endeavor, head over to POST Wrestling’s recap of it

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the original source with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions. 

About Andrew Thompson 8234 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.