We might be witnessing the biggest moment in wrestling and fighting history. Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which started exploring a sale a few months ago, has made it official: It’s merging with UFC as part of a deal with Endeavor Group, UFC’s parent company.
The two companies will combine to form a new publicly traded company. The deal values UFC at $12.1 billion and WWE at $9.3 billion — $21.4 billion between the two.
Endeavor will maintain a slight controlling majority (51%) in the new combat sports and entertainment company. WWE shareholders will retain 49% of the venture.
The merger is huge for the world of fighting, but one person is probably celebrating more than anyone else: Vince McMahon, who just made an INSANE amount of money.
McMahon’s stake in the WWE is 38%, meaning the deal is worth $3.53 billion for him. It’s unclear how much of a stake, if any, he’ll have in the joint venture, but even selling a third of his current ownership would earn him well over $1 billion. And if he sells all of it, he’ll more than double his net worth.
Ari Emanuel, the current chief executive officer of Endeavor, will take on the same role with the new company, which he’s already dubbed “UFC 2.0.” McMahon will be the executive chairman. Others who will stay in their roles include Dana White as UFC President and Nick Khan as CEO of WWE. The board of the new company will also feature six members from UFC and five from WWE.
McMahon retired last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct and misappropriation of funds. He returned in January to sell WWE while his daughter Stephanie served as co-CEO and chairwoman — positions she’s recently stepped down from.
McMahon told CNBC it was “the next evolution of WWE” and concluded that it’s “the right time to do the right thing.”
That’s a good financial lesson for all of us: If you ever have the chance to sell something that will earn you billions of dollars, it’s most likely the right time to make that move.