UFC and WWE Announce Merger to Form $21.4 Billion Entertainment Company
UFC and WWE have announced a historic agreement to merge their two global brands in combat sports and form a new, publicly traded company. The new company, which will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange as “TKO,” will be valued at $21.4 billion, with UFC at $12.1 billion and WWE at $9.3 billion.
The sale of WWE to Endeavor, the parent company of UFC, is expected to be completed in the second half of this year pending regulatory approval. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel will continue in his role as CEO of the new company, while Vince McMahon, who bought the WWF in 1982, will serve as executive chairman of the 11-member board.
Dana White will continue as president of UFC, while Nick Khan will serve as president of WWE. “You have the two greatest promoters of the last 30 to 40 years now in the same house,” said Khan. “We can only learn from one another.”
The transaction comes on the heels of WrestleMania, WWE’s annual marquee event, which generated a gate of more than $21.6 million, breaking the previous record by 27%. The event also broke sponsorship and merchandise records, and generated over 500 million views on social media platforms.
WWE is on the cusp of its first billion-dollar revenue year and will now join forces with the media powerhouse that is UFC. “I think it’s an incredible opportunity for us to continue growing what is already a global brand in WWE,” said Khan. “Now, we’ll have the opportunity to monetize each and every one of those countries in a far better way with Endeavor’s global presence.”
UFC’s rights deal with ESPN, which includes ESPN+ exclusivity for each monthly pay-per-view event, expires in 2025. WWE’s deals with Fox and NBC Universal, worth around $500 million combined annually, expire in the fall of 2024. WWE’s five-year, $1 billion deal with NBC Universal to carry its vast library and monthly premium live events on Peacock expires in 2026.
“We’d like to think we have the hot hand going into these [live-TV rights] negotiations,” said Khan. “Whenever you have more quality tonnage, it gives you more leverage in the marketplace.”
As to whether the new company would enter the fragmented boxing industry, Khan said the focus right now is on full integration between UFC and WWE.
The new company will be well-positioned to maximize the value of the combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content, and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster the strong stable of brands.
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pure play 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, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”