UFC and WWE are officially teaming up.
On Monday morning, after rumours of a deal occurring over the last few weeks, global sports and entertainment company Endeavor officially announced a multi-billion deal to acquire World Wrestling Entertainment, after buying the rights to Ultimate Fighting Championship for US$4 billion in 2016.
In total, the two brands combined are now worth over $21 billion, as the “transaction values UFC at an enterprise value of $12.1 billion and WWE at an enterprise value of $9.3 billion.”
The sale was done at a 51/49 split; upon close, Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49% interest in the new company.
“Given the incredible work that [Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel] 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 a number of ventures, I believe that this is without a doubt the best outcome for our shareholders and other stakeholders,” said Vince McMahon, executive chairman of WWE, in a release. “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.”
Dana White will continue in his role as president of UFC and Nick Khan will serve as president of WWE. Meanwhile, a board of 11 directors — six appointed by Endeavor and five by WWE — will oversee the entire company’s business operations.
It’s not exactly clear what the new deal will mean for fans. A Conor McGregor-John Cena WWE match? Roman Reigns in the Octagon? Dana White against Vince McMahon for the WWE Heavyweight title? At the very least, we can expect plenty of cross-promotion between the two entities over the coming months and years.