UFC and WWE are officially merging, and the deal is scheduled to close in the second half of 2023
UFC and WWE are officially merging, and the deal is scheduled to close in the second half of 2023. Monday, UFC and WWE, two “iconic and complementary” global sports and entertainment brands, said they would join a new, publicly traded entity.WWE shareholders will own 49% of the new company, while Endeavor will manage 51%.
Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, WWE executive chairman Vince McMahon, and Mark Shapiro will lead the new firm. UFC president Dana White and WWE CEO Nick Khan will share the same title. Endeavor will select six members and WWE will select five for the new firm’s board of directors. A second-half completion is likely. UFC and WWE expect yearly cost synergies of $50–100 million.
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The companies claimed that they are focusing on those by “leveraging Endeavor’s back office and robust infrastructure.”Endeavor also expects significant growth across revenue areas, including domestic and international media rights, ticket sales and yield optimization, event operations, sponsorship, licensing, and premium hospitality.”
In that context, Endeavor touted its “success at UFC, including increasing commercial opportunities that have driven more than 2x adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) growth since its acquisition in late 2016.”
The new publicly traded company’s ticker symbol will be TKO, which is short for “technical knockout” in combat sports.
“Together, UFC and WWE will have global reach, impressive scale, and omnichannel distribution,” the companies said. “On a combined 2022 fiscal year-end basis, UFC and WWE achieved revenue of $2.4 billion and a 10% annual revenue growth rate since 2019.
“This is a rare opportunity to create global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” said Emanuel. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation. We are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”
Added McMahon: “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 many ventures, I believe that this is without a doubt the best outcome for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”
He added: “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. The new company will be well-positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content, and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster our strong stable of brands.”
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