Earlier this year, word emerged that WWE was up for sale, with a number of companies seen as viable options to acquire the sports entertainment powerhouse. In April, shortly after WWE WrestleMania 39, it became clear that UFC owner Endeavor would be the company to acquire WWE, with the intent to merge it with Dana White’s mixed martial arts promotion. We now know that the combined company will be called TKO Group Holdings, and the WWE – UFC merger is set to close next month.
In an SEC filing issued by WWE to its stockholders on Thursday, it was reported that the company agreed to a “Pre-Closing Reorganization” before the merger takes place. Additionally, on the Endeavor second-quarter earnings call earlier this week, CEO Ari Emanuel confirmed that consolidation is planned once the two companies are merged. This likely means layoffs within WWE are coming, as noted by Dave Meltzer in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It’s currently unclear if any talent contracts will be cut, but some office roles will almost certainly be affected as the two companies seek to eliminate redundancies.
Meanwhile, WWE’s stock price hit an all-time high at the closing bell yesterday, reaching $114.42 per share. This time last year, the stock price was at $72.54. Since hitting a lull in the spring of 2020, the company’s shares have been on a fairly steady ascent, and all the common stock shares of WWE will be converted into shares for the newly-merged TKO. There is no word yet on dividends – something WWE shareholders are undoubtedly keeping a close eye on.
Another note of interest regarding the merger is the new, combined board of directors. Vince McMahon and WWE CEO Nick Khan will be included, but as of now, Paul “Triple H” Levesque will not, despite serving on the current WWE board. Instead, WWE board member Steve Koonin will make the move over to TKO’s board. WWE reportedly has one more board seat left to appoint, via Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics.