Endeavor president & C.O.O. chats WWE negotiations, areas for synergies

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/04/07/endeavor-president-c-o-o-chats-wwe-negotiations-areas-for-synergies/

Days after the announcement of a pending merger between WWE and UFC, additional details about the negotiations have been revealed.

Industry publication Puck has a detailed breakdown of the final hours of negotiations through the reporting of Dylan Byers, who spoke with Endeavor president and C.O.O. Mark Shapiro.

Shapiro noted that the deal was not a certainty until Saturday night with the term sheet being signed while Vince McMahon and Nick Khan were at SoFi Stadium for the first night of WrestleMania.

Endeavor led the way over the past month, although John Malone’s Liberty Media was aggressively pursuing WWE as well and made a competitive offer, according to the report.

In early March, a meeting involving McMahon, Khan, and Endeavor representatives took place at the Raine Group offices in New York. Puck reports that a “more emotional pitch” from Endeavor took place one week later at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

The news of the pending merger was first reported mid-day on Sunday by CNBC media reporter Alex Sherman, who reported many of the key details that would formally be announced by the respective companies first thing on Monday morning.

The all-stock deal will see the WWE and UFC spun into their own company (“NewCo” for now) and will be trading under the symbol ‘TKO’. Emanuel will oversee the new company with Vince McMahon as its executive chairman while Nick Khan serves as president of WWE and Dana White in the same role for the UFC.

In the Puck story, it cited a figure of $70 million in costs that were saved during the first year of Endeavor’s ownership of UFC after purchasing the company for $4.02 billion in July 2016. There were significant layoffs over the next year as the new ownership fought efficiencies in the aftermath of the big purchase. Shapiro told Puck that they expect to save as much as $100 million through the WWE-UFC merger:

“Anything from H.R. to finance to legal to communications production to distribution and marketing,” Shapiro said. “Across every area, you’re going to find cost synergies; you’re going to integrate and ultimately highlight and appoint the best and brightest teams.”

The approval of the merger is expected to be completed before the end of the year and coincides with WWE entering its next round of domestic television rights negotiations for its core programming.