With the news of the latest WWE releases, and the fact that the company recently sold their streaming rights to NBCUniversal, many are seeing the writing on the wall that the company might be readying itself to be sold.
WWE Network dismantled its U.S. operations to start 2021 and signed with NBC / Peacock. The move provides live WWE events and a classic wrestling library to Peacock subscribers.
WWE Network’s billion-dollar deal with NBCUniversal deepened an already existing partnership with NBCUniversal. With TV ratings dwindling, disappointing live event numbers (before Covid-19) and a general trend toward media consolidation, it has been within the realm of possibility that WWE could be acquired by NBC.
NBCUniversal now own the television rights to both Raw and WWE NXT, both of which air on the USA Network. Friday Night SmackDown is the only WWE television property currently not airing under the NBCU umbrella.
As NBCUniversal continues to increase its spending on WWE, with multiple billion-dollar deals, speculation has ramped up on whether or not the media conglomerate will buy WWE outright.
Are all these releases a sign the company is cleaning house and removing obligations from it’s books for a potential sale? The only obstacle to any acquisition will be Vince McMahon, who owns 34% of WWE shares and about 79% of its voting stock.
I was just talking to someone this morning about a potential sale. With WWE likely getting a rights fee when they renegotiate their TV deals next year, it makes sense for a company like NBC to just buy them, get SmackDown back, and their investment would pay off within 5 years https://t.co/n0treUSgmH
— Raj Giri (@RajGiri_303) June 2, 2021
The change in mindset from keeping unhappy wrestlers until the expiration of their contracts, often adding injury time on their deals, to now offloading so much talent means something has changed in #WWE, and I think it’s linked to making the books look good for a potential sale. https://t.co/Goq4lzzaPB
— Louis Dangoor (@TheLouisDangoor) June 2, 2021