On Monday, it was announced that Endeavor, the parent company of UFC, and WWE would be merging to form a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company will trade under the ticker symbol “TKO.” Endeavor’s acquisition of WWE is expected to close in the second half of the year, once it clears regulatory approval. The new company will consist of the respective companies’ various MMA and professional wrestling bands.
UFC is currently valued at $12.1 billion, and WWE at $9.3 billion. The new combined company would have a combined valuation of $21.4 billion. Both combat sports have come a long way from their inception. Dana White, the current president of UFC, purchased the company for $2 million in 2001. Vince McMahon, executive chairman of WWE, bought what was the WWF in 1982 for $1 million. Both brands have come incredibly far in their development. CNBC reported on the details of the merger:
Endeavor will own a 51% stake in the new combat sports and entertainment company, while WWE shareholders will have the remaining 49%, according to the terms of the agreement. The deal values WWE at $9.3 billion and UFC, which is owned by Endeavor, at $12.1 billion, the companies said in a press release.
Nick Khan, who will continue to serve as president of WWE, told ESPN, “You know how highly I think of Dana,” Khan told ESPN. “Vince only has respect for what Dana has built or helped to build. So, we think it’s gonna be just fine. And if there are any debates, those will be in private. Once we come out of the debate room, we’re aligned and we move forward together. You have the two greatest promoters of the last 30 to 40 years now in the same house [White and McMahon]. We can only learn from one another.”
“I think it’s an incredible opportunity for us to continue growing what is already a global brand in WWE,” Khan continued, “We’re in 170 countries. Now, we’ll have the opportunity to monetize each and every one of those countries in a far better way with Endeavor’s global presence. I think live [TV rights] continues to go up. Our ratings are up; our relevancy’s up; our revenue’s up. We’d like to think we have the hot hand going into these [live-TV rights] negotiations. We’ll see if we’re right or we’re wrong.”
“The new company will be well-positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content, and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster our strong stable of brands,” said Vince McMahon, “I, along with the current WWE management team, look forward to working closely with Ari and the Endeavor and UFC teams to take the businesses to the next level.”
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pure play built for where the industry is headed,” Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”
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