Endeavor closes WWE deal
September 12, 2023
By Nik Roseveare
Endeavor and WWE have announced the close of their previously announced agreement, valued at $9.3 billion (€8.7bn), and the launch of TKO Group Holdings.
TKO brings together UFC, the mixed martial arts organisation, and WWE, an integrated media organisation and a global leader in sports entertainment, to create a new sports and entertainment company serving more than one billion fans, reaching viewers in 180 countries, and producing more than 350 annual live events. Through this combination, TKO will leverage Endeavor’s expertise in areas including domestic and international media rights, ticket sales and yield optimisation, event operations, global partnerships, licensing, and premium hospitality to drive revenue growth.
“The creation of TKO marks an exciting new chapter for UFC and WWE as leaders in global sports and entertainment,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor and TKO. “Given their continued connectivity to the Endeavor network, we are confident in our ability to accelerate their respective growth and unlock long-term sustainable value for shareholders. With UFC and WWE under one roof, we will provide unrivaled experiences for more than a billion passionate fans worldwide.”
“This is the culmination of a decades-long partnership between Endeavor and WWE across strategic initiatives including talent representation and media rights. Given our collaborative, trusted relationship and Endeavor’s incredible track record of success growing UFC, we believe WWE is optimally positioned for future growth and success as part of TKO,” added Vince McMahon, Executive Chairman of TKO. “Our focus remains on delivering for our fans across the globe as we take the business to the next level alongside UFC and Endeavor.”
TKO will begin trading effective immediately on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘TKO’, with Endeavor holding a 51 per cent controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders holding a 49 per cent interest in the new company, on a fully diluted basis.
Commenting on the deal, WWE legend John Cena said on Twitter: ““Another historic moment in the evolution of the sports-entertainment industry. Congratulations to everyone involved in today’s massive announcement. ”
TKO is led by:
- Ariel Emanuel, Chief Executive Officer, who continues as Chief Executive Officer of Endeavor;
- Mark Shapiro, President and Chief Operating Officer, who continues as President and Chief Operating Officer of Endeavor;
- Andrew Schleimer, Chief Financial Officer; and
- Seth Krauss, Chief Legal Officer, who continues as Chief Legal Officer of Endeavor.
Dana White is now Chief Executive Officer of UFC and Lawrence Epstein remains Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UFC. Nick Khan continues at WWE in the role of President.
The Board of Directors of TKO is led by Vince McMahon as Executive Chairman of the Board and consists of 11 members, including Emanuel, Shapiro, and Khan, in addition to the following directors:
- Peter C.B. Bynoe, Senior Advisor at DLA Piper LLP;
- Egon P. Durban, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Silver Lake;
- Steven R. Koonin, Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Hawks, LLC;
- Jonathan A. Kraft, President of the Kraft Group LLC;
- Sonya E. Medina, President and Chief Executive Officer of Reach Resilience;
- Nancy R. Tellem, Executive Chairperson and Chief Media Officer of Eko; and
- Carrie Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer and a board member of Opendoor Technologies Inc.