WWE-UFC ‘Endeavor’ set to ‘pack a punch’


WWE and UFC joint venture Image: WWE and UFC

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have merged to create a $21.4 billion sports entertainment company, they announced on April 3rd.

‘USA TODAY’ stated that the WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has sold the company to the Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., which will have 51 percent ownership in the new company. The WWE stakeholders will own 49 percent.

Stamford (US)-based the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., doing business as WWE, is an American professional wrestling promotion. A global integrated media and entertainment company, the WWE has also branched out into other fields, including film, American football and various other business ventures.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American mixed martial arts promotion company based in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. It is owned and operated by Zuffa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Endeavor Group Holdings. It is the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion company in the world as of 2011.

The Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. is an American holding company for talent and media agencies with its primary offices in Beverly Hills, California, United States. The company was founded in April 2009 after the merger of the William Morris Agency and the original Endeavor Talent Agency.

Said Ariel Emanuel, Endeavor head honcho, “This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed. 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.”

‘USA TODAY’ further stated that the WWE has undergone significant changes over the past year. Vince McMahon announced his retirement in July last year following an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations and then returned to his role as Executive Chairman of the Board after a unanimous vote in January.

In a subsequent move, McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, resigned from her role as Co-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairwoman. She served alongside fellow CEO Nick Khan and the Chief Content Officer and former WWE star Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque.

Now, WWE will head in a new direction.

Stated McMahon, “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. 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.”

McMahon will keep his role as Executive Chairman of the Board in the joint venture, while Emmanuel will remain as the CEO. Dana White will stay as the President of UFC with Khan remaining President of WWE.

Added McMahon, “Given the incredible work that Ari and Endeavor have done to grow the UFC brand – nearly doubling its revenue over the past seven years – and the immense success we’ve already had in partnering with their team on a number of ventures, I believe that this is without a doubt the best outcome for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”

The WWE has distribution deals with FOX, NBC Universal and BT Sport, among others. The WWE Network also houses the company’s video catalog and is available in over 180 countries. In the United States, Peacock streams WWE Premium Live Events and access to the video library. The WWE program is also televised in the United States each week.

The WWE had more than 7.5 billion digital and social media views in January and February of this year, up 15 percent from the same time frame a year ago.

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