Last month, federal law enforcement agents took action by executing a search warrant and serving a federal grand jury subpoena to WWE Executive Chairman Vince McMahon, as revealed in a regulatory filing. Meanwhile, McMahon is currently on medical leave from the sports entertainment company due to recent spinal surgery.
Addressing the ongoing government investigations into McMahon, WWE stated in the Securities and Exchange Commission filing that no charges have been brought against him at this point. The company has been cooperative in providing documents and responding to legal demands from various federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies, all related to the investigation and its associated subjects.
Last year, WWE was in the spotlight due to an investigation into an alleged $3 million payment made by McMahon to a departing female employee following a consensual affair. The company completed its investigation into the misconduct allegations in 2022.
In response to the situation, McMahon issued a statement stating, “In 2022, WWE formed a special committee to review allegations of misconduct against me. That review was concluded in November 2022 following an extensive investigation. Throughout this experience, I have always denied any intentional wrongdoing and continue to do so. I am confident that the government’s investigation will be resolved without any findings of wrongdoing.”
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During WWE’s second-quarter earnings call, CEO Nick Khan announced that McMahon underwent significant spinal surgery about two weeks prior and is currently on leave to focus on his recovery. However, the duration of the leave was not specified.
In terms of financial performance, WWE reported solid results for the quarter. It earned $52 million, or 67 cents per share, and its revenue reached a quarterly record of $410.3 million. Notably, revenue from live events saw a notable 51% increase for the period ending June 30.
Moreover, WWE’s planned combination with UFC will lead to the formation of a new publicly listed company called TKO Group Holdings, with the deal expected to close in the second half of the year. While this development progresses, WWE remains focused on its domestic media rights for its weekly television programs, which include “Smackdown” on Fox and “Raw” and “NXT” on USA Network. The company has been in conversations with various media entities, including Disney and Amazon, regarding potential interest in the media rights.
Throughout the quarter, WWE saw a rise in viewership for its shows, with “Smackdown” up by 26% in the 18-49 demographic, “Raw” by 19%, and “NXT” by a significant 49% in the same demographic. The incorporation of top-name stars like Seth Rollins and Rhea Ripley contributed to the surge in “NXT” viewership.