In a significant development for the world of professional wrestling, Vince McMahon, the iconic figure behind WWE’s meteoric rise, has officially relinquished majority control of the wrestling juggernaut. This seismic change comes as Endeavor, a powerhouse in the world of sports and entertainment, completed its purchase of a majority stake in WWE. The result? A fusion of WWE with UFC to form TKO Group Holdings.
Trading of shares in the newly formed company commenced on the New York Stock Exchange, marking the beginning of a new era for WWE and the broader sports entertainment landscape. The initial share price opened at $102 per share, reflecting the excitement and anticipation surrounding this historic transformation.
Endeavor now commands a 51 percent ownership stake in TKO Group Holdings, solidifying its position as a major player in the industry. Vince McMahon, whose influence on WWE is indelible, retains a 16.4 percent share of TKO, as per the terms of the agreement. The deal, announced in April, valued WWE at an impressive $9.3 billion. Part of the agreement entailed Endeavor spinning off UFC, paving the way for a formidable $21 billion combat sports entity.
Vince McMahon’s connection to WWE has been a defining force since he acquired the company from his father in 1982. Over the years, he transformed WWE from a regional enterprise into a global phenomenon. His stewardship took the wrestling spectacle from its grassroots to a national and international stage, establishing it as a cultural and commercial phenomenon.
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Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, shared his enthusiasm for this monumental moment, stating,
“The creation of TKO marks an exciting new chapter for UFC and WWE as leaders in global sports and entertainment,” Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel said in a statement. “Given their continued connectivity to the Endeavor network, we are confident in our ability to accelerate their respective growth and unlock long-term sustainable value for shareholders. With UFC and WWE under one roof, we will provide unrivaled experiences for more than a billion passionate fans worldwide.”
While WWE has faced challenges from various quarters throughout its history, including the fierce competition of the 1990s from WCW and the emergence of AEW over the last decade, it has consistently retained its position as the world’s most valuable wrestling promotion. This transition signifies a new phase in the ongoing saga of WWE, now under the TKO banner.
Importantly, Vince McMahon will continue to play a pivotal role in TKO Holdings as its executive chairman and is expected to maintain his involvement in WWE’s creative decision-making processes. Paul Levesque, more widely recognized as Triple H, will continue to lead WWE’s creative efforts.