UFC, WWE to merge into $21B sports entertainment giant – The Denver Post

The parent company of the UFC mixed martial arts league has announced a deal to buy professional wrestling giant WWE and merge the two corporations.

“Together, we will be a $21+ billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse with a collective fanbase of more than a billion people and an exciting growth opportunity,” Vince McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment executive chairman, said along with the announcement of the merger.

According to an announcement made by Ultimate Fighting Championship owner Endeavor Group Holdings on Monday morning, the companies have signed a “definitive agreement” to combine with Endeavor maintaining 51% controlling interest and WWE shareholders keeping the remaining 49% holdings.

The professional wrestling company formerly known as the WWF was purchased for $9.3 billion or approximately $106 per share, according to the the announcement.

“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel said with the announcement. “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.”

UFC President Dana White will continue to lead the professional martial arts league, which according to Endeavor is currently valued at $12.1 billion. McMahon will be president of Endeavor, and the current president, Mark Shapiro, made chief operating officer. WWE CEO Nick Khan will be made WWE President.

“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,” McMahon said of the deal.

In January, after stepping away for a time following allegations of impropriety with WWE staff, McMahon resumed control of the company he built into the largest professional wrestling promotion company in the world.

McMahon is the third of his family to lead the Connecticut based company, not including daughter Stephanie McMahon who led the WWE in her father’s absence but resigned her role as CEO and Chairwoman in January.

“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 said.

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