In a stunning move that shook the sports and entertainment world, Endeavor Group Holdings announced on Monday that it has acquired WWE from Vince McMahon and will merge it with UFC to form a new company. The deal, which values WWE at $9.3 billion and UFC at $12.1 billion, creates a $21 billion global live sports and entertainment powerhouse that will combine the best of both worlds: scripted wrestling matches and storylines from WWE, and authentic mixed martial arts fights and events from UFC.
Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said in a press release that the merger is a rare opportunity to create a pureplay company built for where the industry is headed. He praised McMahon and his team for their track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and expressed confidence that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value by bringing UFC and WWE together.
McMahon, who founded WWE in 1980 and turned it into a global phenomenon, will serve as the executive chairman of the new company. He said that he believes this is the best outcome for WWE shareholders and other stakeholders, given the incredible work that Endeavor has done to grow the UFC brand. He also said that he looks forward to working with Emanuel and his team to take the new company to new heights.
The new company, whose name will be announced at a later date, will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker TKO. It will have a board of 11 people, six appointed by Endeavor and five by WWE. Dana White will remain as president of UFC, and Nick Khan will stay on as president of WWE.
The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and approval by WWE shareholders. The deal will give the new company access to a larger and more diverse fan base, as well as synergies in content production, distribution, licensing, sponsorship, merchandising, and live events. The new company will also leverage its combined scale and expertise to pursue new opportunities in emerging markets, digital platforms, and sports betting.