WWE Has been sold
World Wrestling Entertainment is merging with Endeavor Group, the parent company of competitor UFC, to form a new publicly traded company.
The deal values the newly combined company at over $21 billion: UFC is worth $12.1 billion and WWE is valued at $9.3 billion. Endeavor shareholders will own 51% of the newly combined company, while WWE shareholders are getting 49%.
"This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed," said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, in a statement. Emanuel, a Hollywood powerhouse agent, will be the CEO of the new company and retain his chief executive title at the agency.
executive chairman at the new company, which doesn't yet have name. He said in a statement that the new company "will be well positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights." He also said the new company could expand by pursuing other mergers and acquisitions "to further bolster our strong stable of brands."
WWE shares fell nearly 10% in early trading and Endeavor slumped about 2%. The companies expect to save $50 million to $100 million in costs once the deal is complete, which is expected to close in the second half of this year. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "TKO."
The new company's board of directors will have 11 members named at a later date, with six of them appointed by Endeavor and the remaining picked by the WWE.
Endeavor, which also owns Hollywood's biggest talent agency William Morris Endeavor, became the outright owner of UFC in 2021. Shares of the company are up more than 10% for the year. Revenue for its sports unit, which houses the UFC, grew 20% last year to $1.3 billion thanks in part to increased media rights fees.