Endeavour Group has acquired a 51% majority stake in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
WWE becomes the latest sports entertainment company to be purchased by Endeavour since the group acquired the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2016 for $4bn.
Since purchasing the MMA promotion, Endeavour’s valuation of UFC has increased to up to $12.1bn, with WWE’s value at $9.3bn, thus creating what the firm believes to be a “$21+ billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse”.
The sale of WWE was accelerated last January, when long-time owner and Chairman Vince McMahon, returned to his position after taking a hiatus due to multiple allegations of misconduct. McMahon has been the owner of WWE since 1982, taking over from his father.
Whilst Endeavour now holds a controlling 51% stake in the wrestling company, the other 49% will be made up of existing shareholders.
Ari Emanuel, CEO of Endeavour, will now take over as CEO of the WWE, with McMahon now acting as the Executive Chairman of the new-look WWE alongside Mark Shapiro. Nick Khan will now serve as President of WWE, as well as Dana White as President of the UFC.
“Given the incredible work that Ari and Endeavor have done to grow the UFC brand – nearly doubling its revenue over the past seven years – and the immense success we’ve already had in partnering with their team on a number of ventures, I believe that this is without a doubt the best outcome for our shareholders and other stakeholders,” said McMahon, Executive Chairman of WWE.
“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.
“The new company will be well positioned to maximise the value of our combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster our strong stable of brands.
“I, along with the current WWE management team, look forward to working closely with Ari and the Endeavor and UFC teams to take the businesses to the next level.”
WWE’s acquisition comes off the heels of the company’s biggest show of the year, WrestleMania, which was hosted over a two-day event last weekend at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, which broke a gate record of “well over $21m” for the event according to WWE CCO Triple H.
Now operating under the same umbrella as UFC, WWE and Endeavour will aim to become the home of sports entertainment as the group estimates both companies to deliver $50m-$100m in annual run rate costs.
Endeavour also expects significant growth across revenue areas such as international media rights, ticket sales, event operations, sponsorship, licensing and more.
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” added Emanuel.
“For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”