Endeavor’s UFC to merge with WWE in $21bn all-stock deal

Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor Group has agreed to merge its Final Preventing Championship with World Wrestling Leisure, forming a brand new listed entity with an enterprise worth of $21.4bn.

Underneath the all-stock deal, Endeavor will personal 51 per cent of a brand new enterprise that may home UFC and WWE, the businesses introduced on Monday. WWE shareholders will retain the remaining 49 per cent.

The deal, anticipated to shut within the second half of this yr, provides WWE an enterprise worth of $9.3bn, together with debt, and places a price on UFC of $12.1bn. Endeavor and WWE stated they anticipated to ship value synergies of $50mn-$100mn.

“It is a uncommon alternative to create a worldwide dwell sports activities and leisure pureplay constructed for the place the trade is headed,” stated Ariel Emanuel, chief govt of Endeavor, in a press release.

Emanuel will function chief govt of the brand new firm, whereas WWE founder and controlling shareholder Vince McMahon can be its govt chair. Dana White will proceed as president of UFC.

WWE blends the worlds of sport and leisure, scripting bouts and writing storylines primarily based on larger-than-life personalities similar to Roman Reigns and Charlotte Aptitude.

Whereas WWE matches are scripted, blended martial artwork collection UFC organises actual fights. Nonetheless, there could also be alternatives for crossover. WWE celebrity Brock Lesnar famously switched to UFC and later returned to wrestling, whereas Ronda Rousey is among the many MMA opponents to have switched to wrestling. Each corporations use drama exterior of the wrestling ring and the UFC octagon to lure in followers.

WWE makes most of its cash by promoting the TV rights to broadcasters similar to Comcast and Fox. Its flagship occasion is WrestleMania, which came about final weekend in Los Angeles.

WWE’s annual revenues rose 18 per cent to nearly $1.3bn in 2022, with internet revenue rising to $195mn from $177mn. The group made 80 per cent of its internet revenues from media rights, together with broadcast offers, with the rest coming from dwell occasions and the sale of merchandise.

Endeavor’s “owned sports activities properties” division, which incorporates UFC, made revenues of greater than $1.3bn in 2022, up from $1.1bn the earlier yr.

McMahon, 77, returned to the corporate as govt chair in January after stepping down in July final yr following allegations of misconduct.

An investigation by WWE’s impartial board members discovered that “sure funds” in earlier years had not been “appropriately recorded as bills” within the firm’s monetary statements. WWE stated McMahon was paying for the bills.

Since founding Endeavor in 1995 as a Hollywood expertise company, Emanuel has expanded the scope of the corporate by way of a collection of offers. The corporate has acquired rival William Morris Company and sports activities company IMG.

Further reporting by Sara Germano

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