In a groundbreaking development, the merger of two titans in the sports and entertainment world, UFC and WWE, has reached its culmination. The newly formed entity, TKO Group Holdings, has officially come into existence, ushering in a new era for both organizations. Here’s a comprehensive look at what we know so far about this historic merger.
UFC-WWE Merger Timeline: The journey to this merger has been marked by significant milestones:
- 2016: UFC parent company Zuffa sold its majority stake to Endeavor (then known as WME-IMG), laying the groundwork for future developments.
- 2021: Endeavor initiated an IPO, transforming itself into a publicly traded company. The proceeds from this IPO were instrumental in completing the buyout of Zuffa, making it a wholly owned subsidiary in March 2021.
- June 2022: Vince McMahon, the long-time CEO of WWE, temporarily stepped down amid allegations of hush money payments related to a personal affair. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, assumed the role of executive chairwoman and co-CEO, alongside Nick Khan.
- January 2023: Vince McMahon returned as the executive chairman of WWE, spearheading efforts to sell the company. Stephanie relinquished her chairwoman role, and Khan became the sole CEO of WWE.
- April 3, 2023: WWE and Endeavor reached an agreement to merge WWE with Zuffa, birthing TKO Group Holdings. This new entity would become publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “TKO.” Ari Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, would also assume the role of CEO for TKO Group Holdings.
- September 12, 2023: The merger reached its official culmination as TKO Group Holdings made its debut on the NYSE, signifying a new chapter in the world of sports entertainment.
- Vince McMahon remains at the helm as Executive Chair of TKO Group Holdings, with a tenure that lasts until his death, resignation, or incapacity. In this capacity, he holds the authority to select five out of eleven directors and certain veto rights within the company.
- Former UFC president Dana White takes on the role of CEO of UFC under the TKO umbrella.
- Nick Khan assumes the position of President of WWE, mirroring White’s former role as UFC’s president.
Ownership Structure: Endeavor holds the majority stake, owning a controlling interest of 51% in the new entity, while WWE shareholders retain the remaining 49% on a fully diluted basis.
- Advertisement -
Remarkably, Vince McMahon personally owns 34% of the newly formed company, as disclosed in the SEC filing.
This merger marks a significant turning point, as it is the first instance in the WWE’s history since its founding in 1953 by Vince McMahon’s father where the McMahon family does not retain controlling interest in the company.
As of now, the New York Stock Exchange values TKO at an impressive $102 per share, underlining the potential and market confidence in this new era of sports and entertainment conglomerate.