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A deal has been reached between WWE and Endeavor, the parent company of UFC, to merge their businesses. This deal will see Endeavor claiming 51% of the company’s shares over the coming years, while WWE is claiming 49% of the company’s shares. In the wake of the merger announcement, CNBC reported that WWE was valued at $9.3 billion, while UFC, on the other hand, was valued at just over $12 billion. As far as leadership is concerned, Ari Manuel will be the CEO for both Endeavor and the newly merged company as well. Also, Vince McMahon will serve as executive chairman of the newly formed entity.
Mark Shapiro, the Endeavor CEO and President will also occupy the same position as a member of the newly formed organization. In addition, UFC will retain Dana White for the role of UFC president, and WWE CEO Nick Khan will continue to lead the company’s wrestling division as the company’s president.
As announced on CNBC’s Squawk On The Street, Ari Emanuel has high hopes for the newly established company, claiming, “This is going to be UFC 2.0.” Although WWE had many potential buyers, Vince McMahon was confident that the merger with Endeavor would ensure long-term success for WWE. In his CNBC interview, McMahon says, “It makes all the sense in the world for us to maximize the value of all of these synergies.”
The most valuable component of this merger is WWE’s media rights. So, the new media company will be named shortly and listed on the New York Stock Exchange as TKO, focusing on maximizing media rights, increasing sponsorship revenue, and creating new content. In addition, make targeted acquisitions and purchases to strengthen these companies’ brands in the future. There has been past crossover between stars in the UFC and WWE; think Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey.
In the days following the announcement of the new deal, UFC legend Conor McGregor tweeted his excitement and entertained the possibility of winning both titles simultaneously. “What a powerhouse! ” McGregor said in a tweet.
The WWE has just completed Wrestlemania 39, the best-grossing revenue event in its history; Wrestlemania 39 generated over $20 million in revenue and over $21 million in sponsorship revenue. In addition, WWE’s media rights for streaming and television will be up for a new deal. Ari Manuel aims to apply the same strategy Endeavor used to increase UFC’s live event revenue. Could wagering on matches come back? News broke last month on the potential of Michigan and Colorado legalizing betting on WWE matches. I expect the potential wagering component of WWE matches to enhance its media value.
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