Ultimate Fighting Championship owner Endeavor Group Holdings Inc. and WWE are combining to create at $21.4 billion sports entertainment company, a business that will share a diverse audience and expansive social media reach.
A new publicly traded company will be formed that houses the UFC and WWE brands. Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new company once the deal is complete. Existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49% stake in the new company.
The new business will be lead by Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel. He’ll also remain as Endeavor CEO. Vince McMahon, executive chairman at WWE, will serve in the same role at the new company.
The announcement comes after Vince McMahon, the founder and majority shareholder of WWE, returned to the company in January and said that it could be up for sale.
Rumors swirled about who would possibly be interested in buying WWE, with chatter focusing on companies such as Endeavor, Disney, Fox, Comcast, Amazon and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Industry experts had viewed WWE as an attractive acquisition target given its global reach and loyal fanbase, which includes everyone from minors to seniors and a wide range of incomes.