UFC and WWE Merger Sets Close Date, NYSE Launch as TKO Group

UFC and WWE are about to make their marriage official.

Endeavor Group Holdings and World Wrestling Entertainment said Thursday that the combination of UFC and WWE will be completed next week.

The two organizations will together form TKO Group Holdings, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “TKO,” on Tuesday.

The deal, which was announced in April, values UFC at $12.1 billion and WWE at $9.3 billion. Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49% interest in the new company.

WWE shares, which traders have been viewing as a proxy for the new stock, slipped 7 cents in morning trading, to $100.28, up 12% since the deal was revealed.

Endeavor shares added 30 cents to $21.81 as the broader market dipped. The stock is down 3% since the April announcement.

The move will mark the end of WWE’s status as a family-operated business, which dates back to its founding as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation by the embattled Vince McMahon’s father, Vincent J. McMahon, in 1953.

McMahon bought the company from his father in 1982 and transformed pro wrestling into a made-for-television phenomenon driven by WrestleMania and larger-than-life stars like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Randy Savage.

McMahon was forced to step down as CEO at WWE in June 2022 after the Wall Street Journal exposed years of hush money payments he made to women to keep quiet about affairs and sexual misconduct.

In January, McMahon returned to the WWE as a board member and said he would be exploring “strategic alternatives” for the company’s shareholders, including a sale.

In April the companies said McMahon will retain the title of executive chairman of the board of the new company. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel will also take that role at TKO.

Mark Shapiro will be president and chief operating officer of both Endeavor and TKO, while Dana White will continue in his role as president of UFC and Nick Khan will serve as president of WWE.

The announcement Thursday did not name members of the new board of directors, which is expected to include 10 people in addition to McMahon, six appointed by Endeavor and five by WWE.

The post UFC and WWE Merger Sets Close Date, NYSE Launch as TKO Group appeared first on TheWrap.