Dwayne Johnson has joined the board of TKO Group and received full ownership rights of “The Rock” trademark as part of a new services and merchandising agreement with WWE. Under the agreement, the actor and WWE superstar will provide promotional, licensing, and other services to the company.
“The Rock” name is derived from Johnson’s father, Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, who was the first Black champion in WWE history alongside Tony Atlas. Johnson’s grandfather, Peter Maivia, a Samoan-American professional wrestler, was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
The move comes as “The Rock” has joined TKO Group Inc.’s board of directors.
The company, which merges WWE with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, values the properties at $9.3 billion and $12.1 billion, respectively. Endeavor owns a 51% controlling interest in the company, while existing WWE shareholders hold a 49% interest.
“I am thrilled to partner with Dwayne and welcome his immense talent to TKO’s Board,” TKO CEO Ari Emanuel said. “Dwayne brings an incredible track record of creating content and building globally recognized consumer brands, and he will play a key role in realizing our ambitions for TKO.”
Johnson has experience identifying and creating revenue generating media rights, live events, sponsorship, licensing, and social media opportunities through his business portfolio, which includes Seven Bucks Productions, Teremana Tequila, ZOA Energy, Project Rock, and the recently combined United Football League (UFL).
“My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and my dad, Rocky ‘Soulman’ Johnson, would’ve never thought this day would come. Which is why I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me. A table that my family helped to build,” Johnson said in a statement.
“Being on the TKO Board of Directors, and taking full ownership of my name, ‘The Rock’, is not only unprecedented, but incredibly inspiring as my crazy life is coming full circle. At my core, I’m a builder who builds for and serves the people, and Ari is building something truly game changing,” he continued. “I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE, and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences. I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”
In addition to Johnson, Uptake Technologies CEO and Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell has joined the TKO board, which will increase from 11 to 13 members.
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