In a major deal announced on Monday, the Endeavor group has acquired the UFC and WWE, creating a new powerhouse in the sports and entertainment industry. With a combined value of over $21 billion, the aim is to create a publicly traded company in four to six months. The new CEO of the UFC-WWE combined entity will be Ari Emanuel, and Vince McMahon will serve as executive chairman.
The UFC’s president, Dana White, will remain in his position, with Nick Khan as president of WWE. Emanuel has promised that both promotions will have autonomy over their day-to-day business and creative control, with disagreements handled in-house. The merger will allow the combined companies to extract greater value from existing media rights deals and provide other opportunities.
Emanuel has largely taken a “hands-off” approach to the UFC while leaving it to Dana White to manage the promotion’s daily operations. Similarly, McMahon will continue to have control over WWE, though he will not be as deeply involved as before. McMahon, who has owned WWE since its inception, believes that this move is the right step for the company’s evolution. He acknowledges that Emanuel’s vision and expertise are what’s needed to take WWE to the next level.
A significant return on investment for Endeavor is expected in the next two years. Both the UFC and WWE are negotiating new media rights deals, which could result in substantial revenue streams. The merged company may also use its stronger position to negotiate for better deals with existing partners or seek out new ones
As both the UFC and WWE primarily appeal to the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, they are well-placed to take advantage of the marketplace. In McMahon’s opinion, the fact that both companies offer live events is a significant advantage as they can fit everywhere, from social media to traditional broadcast networks.
For Emanuel, this combination has been a long time coming. As Endeavor has acted as the talent agency for WWE for the past 23 years, he has long envisioned a partnership like this with WWE. It is a unique proposition, and one which I think the market will understand, he said. With the value that the merged company will bring, Ember shareholders will likely have an entirely different perception of their investment going forward.
Both the UFC and WWE will come under a new corporate structure, and the management teams will be autonomous in their day-to-day operations. The merger gives the companies unprecedented leverage and industry clout, setting them up to navigate the changing landscape