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WWE and UFC Parent Company to Join Forces in Massive Merger
By Roger “Rock” Lockridge
Coming off the heels of the most successful WrestleMania in WWE history, a historic merger is apparently about to happen.
On Monday, Apr. 3rd, WWE and UFC parent company Endeavor Group Holdings announced that the two companies will merge in what appears to be a combination worth $21.4 billion USD. The UFC side is expected to be valued at $12.1 billion USD while the WWE side is reportedly worth $9.3 billion USD. As of this writing, the new company has yet to be named, but the Endeavor side of the merger will hold 51% controlling interest while the WWE side will maintain 49%.
WWE founder and Executive Chairman Vince McMahon will maintain his same role under the new ownership. After a sabbatical following a string of controversial revelations during a misconduct investigation. McMahon was found to have paid over $12 million USD in “hush money” to women he had sexual relations with. After announcing his retirement over the summer of 2022, he returned to the company in January 2023. He is expected to be the top figure on the WWE side with an overhead role in Creative for their entertainment.
"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," McMahon shared in his statement announcing the news.
As for the other major players in the merge, WWE CEO Nick Khan will be WWE President while Dana White will maintain his role as President of the UFC. The entire company will be led by Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuael. Following the announcement of the merger, WWE shares were down 3.5 percent early that morning while Endeavor stock was down .5 percent. Other parties that were rumored to be interested in buying the company included Disney, Fox, Amazon, Comcast, and the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia.
WWE is coming off the conclusion of its biggest weekend of the year, WrestleMania 39 at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. The two-day event set numerous company records, including company sponsorship revenue of over $20 million USD, a total gate of $21.6 million USD, and a 20 percent increase in merchandise sales over the previous year, which was also a company record at the time. The main event saw defending Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeat challenger Cody Rhodes to retain the championship in a controversial finish.
McMahon bought the then World Wide Wrestling Federation from his father, Vincent J. McMahon in 1982 for a reported $1 million. He then began making his move to take what was then a wrestling territory in the northeastern United States and expand to a national brand. In 2001, the then WWF would be the only major wrestling brand in North America following the purchase of rival WCW. The closest brand that could be considered competition to WWE in recent years is All Elite Wrestline (AEW), which began in 2019.
As of this writing, the deal for the merger is yet to be officially complete, but that is expected to change in the coming days.
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