Shortly after the WWE WrestleMania 39 pyro cleared, news broke that the long-time McMahon-owned company would be acquired by Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor. Once the transaction is complete, WWE will be merged with UFC to form a new publicly traded company called TKO Holdings Group. Vince McMahon will serve as the Executive Chairman, with Emanuel continuing on in his role of CEO and Dana White as President of UFC.
The Wrap reports that the transaction is expected to close in mid-to-late September of this year. Once the deal is complete, all WWE shareholders will have their existing equity rolled over into shares of TKO Group Holdings, listed under the ticker symbol TKO. Endeavor will hold on to 51% controlling interest of TKO, while WWE shareholders will take control of the other 49%. The combined value of WWE and UFC, and the new company, will be around $21.4 billion, with WWE valued at $9.4 billion and UFC at $12.1 billion.
It has been a tumultuous last year for McMahon, and this transaction nearing a close can only come as good news. Around last year at this time, the eccentric billionaire announced his surprise retirement from WWE as accusations of hush-money payments and inappropriate behavior loomed over his head. He remained away from the promotion, at least publicly, for about nine months, and while he was gone, Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon were named co-presidents, while Paul “Triple H” Levesque, his son-in-law, took on the position of Chief Content Officer.
Khan has taken an aggressive approach toward expanding WWE’s international footprint, as well as exploring new opportunities for sponsors to get involved with the product. The result of his work has been noticeable, as WWE has regularly announced attendance and viewership records in recent months, including this past Saturday’s WWE SummerSlam, the most-watched SummerSlam of all-time, and also the highest-grossing WWE PLE ever outside of a WrestleMania.
Levesque did seem to be fully at the creative helm with McMahon away, but since the Endeavor announcement, his father-in-law’s presence has returned to the picture. While there were reports of chaos backstage at the WWE Raw after WrestleMania when McMahon sat in the Gorilla position, he has been less present as of late, only showing up occasionally and sending most notes remotely.