CNBC is reporting that World Wrestling Entertainment is in advanced talks to be sold to the Endeavor Group, the parent company of UFC. A deal could be announced as soon as Monday.
UFC and WWE are expected to form a new publicly traded company as part of the agreement, according to people familiar with the matter. Endeavor shareholders will own 51% of the combined company, while WWE shareholders would get 49%, CNBC reported, citing sources.
The WWE has been actively exploring an acquisition deal for some time now. Vince McMahon, the longtime public face and majority owner of the professional wrestling organization, returned to the company as executive chairman in January. McMahon was looking to get as much as $9 billion for WWE in a sale.
“WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms,” Vince McMahon said in a statement coinciding with his return to the company. “The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives.”
Endeavor is run by Ari Emanuel, who has transformed Endeavor into a sports and entertainment powerhouse, including the Ultimate Fighting Championship as well as a sports-betting technology company.