- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has agreed to merge with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
- The two will form a new publicly traded company that will be controlled by Endeavor Group (EDR), which owns UFC
- Endeavor will own a 51 per cent share in the new “combat sports and entertainment company” and WWE shareholders will own the remaining 49 per cent
- WWE stock opened at C$85.60 per share
After scoring its most-successful and highest-grossing event in company history, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has agreed to merge with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The two will form a new publicly traded company that will be controlled by Endeavor Group Holdings Inc. (NYSE:EDR) , which owns UFC.
Endeavor will own a 51 per cent share in the new “combat sports and entertainment company” and WWE shareholders will own the remaining 49 per cent.
Bringing together two of the world’s biggest sports entertainment brands, the deal values WWE at U.S.$9.3 billion U.S. and UFC at U.S.$12.1 billion.
The WWE’s Vince McMahon will serve as Executive Chairman of the new company while Dana White will remain as President of UFC.
Speaking on this news in a media release, McMahon praised the work that Endeavor had done to grow the UFC brand – nearly doubling its revenue over the last seven years.
“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 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 [Endeavor CEO] Ari [Emanuel] and the Endeavor and UFC teams to take the businesses to the next level.”
Over the weekend, WWE held Wrestlemania 39, a two-night, sold-out event at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, which set new records for viewership, gate, sponsorship, merchandise, and social media.
WWE’s run as a family business ends with this merger. McMahon’s father, Vince Sr. founded the company in 1953. McMahon stepped down last year following a hush-money scandal involving former employees. Upon his return earlier this year, he had been reportedly shopping around for buyers for WWE. That marked a significant bump in the company’s stock, which added to its 38 per cent rise since this time, last year. WWE stock opened at C$85.60 per share.