Endeavor and WWE have officially announced a deal to form a new $21 billion company, merging the UFC and WWE.
Endeavor is the parent company of the UFC. Vince McMahon will hold a very senior role in the new set-up.
Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new company. Existing WWE shareholders will hold the remaining 49%.
The new company has not yet been named but will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker code “TKO”.
The transaction values the UFC at an enterprise value of $12.1 billion and WWE at an enterprise value of $9.3 billion.
The deal has been unanimously approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Endeavor and by the Board of Directors of WWE. It is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2023.
The new company will be led by Emanuel as Chief Executive Officer, who will also continue in his role as Chief Executive Officer of Endeavor, McMahon as Executive Chairman of the Board, and Mark Shapiro, who will be President and Chief Operating Officer of both Endeavor and the new company.
Dana White will continue in his role as President of UFC and Nick Khan will serve as President of WWE.
A press statement notes that, together, UFC and WWE expect to deliver $50 million to $100 million in annual savings by leveraging, among other things, Endeavor’s existing back-office structure.
In the press release, Ariel Emanuel, Endeavor CEO, states:
This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed. 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.
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.
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 maximize 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.
The Board of Directors of the new company will consist of 11 members to be appointed at a later date. Six will be appointed by Endeavor and five by WWE.
The press release goes on to state:
The transaction represents a contribution price of WWE of approximately $106 per share (before any post-closing dividend). Additionally, UFC and WWE will each contribute cash to the new company so that it holds approximately $150 million. At closing, Endeavor intends to sweep all excess cash at UFC, and shareholders of the new company (other than Endeavor) are expected to receive a post-closing dividend.
WWE and Endeavor have produced an investor presentation, and a webcast of a WWE/UFC conference call is available on both the WWE and Endeavor corporate websites.
There will be further coverage of this story on POST Wrestling throughout the day.