UFC parent Endeavor Group and World Wrestling Entertainment said today they expect to close the planned merger of UFC and WWE on September 12. That’s on the earlier end of expectations as Endeavor said in August it expected the deal to close in mid-to-late September.
Endeavor and WWE announced a deal last spring for the Ari Emanuel-led company to take control of WWE and merge it into a new, stand-alone entity with UFC. The professional wrestling and mixed martial arts powerhouse will be called TKO Group Holdings and trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Valued at $21 billion, TKO will be a subsidiary of Endeavor, with 51% control. WWE (Raw, SmackDown) will control 49%.
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Emanuel will be CEO. Dana White will continue as president of UFC.
Vince McMahon, WWE’s longtime leader, executive chairman and major shareholder, who orchestrated the deal with Endeavor, was set as executive chair of the new company’s board. In early August, WWE announced federal law enforcement agents had executed a search warrant and served a federal grand jury subpoena on McMahon although no charges had been brought. WWE CEO Nick Khan also said then that McMahon was on a medical leave of absence until further notice following spinal surgery.
WWE launched an internal probe of McMahon in 2022 to investigate allegations of payments to women, which it found had totaled close to $20 million and that caused it to revise several quarterly financial statements. The probe wrapped up last November and McMahon paid the company $17.4 million for costs incurred.
“As previously disclosed on June 17, 2022, a Special Committee of the Board of Directors was formed on June 15, 2022 to investigate allegations of misconduct by Vince McMahon. As previously disclosed, the Special Committee investigation was completed during the fourth quarter of 2022. However, related government investigations remain ongoing,” the company said in SEC filing Aug 2.
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