A new powerhouse in sports and entertainment has emerged with the UFC and WWE under one ownership group as Endeavor joins the following. In a blockbuster deal He announced Monday.
Reportedly the combined assets are worth more than $21 billion, he plans to make the UFC-WWE conglomerate a publicly traded company within the next four to six months. Under the new power structure, Ari Emmanuel will serve as CEO of the UFC-WWE joint venture, with Vince McMahon serving as executive chairman.
Dana White Nick Khan remains the president of the WWE and remains the president of the UFC.
Hoping the companies will benefit from working together, Emanuel promises that both promotions will have autonomy over day-to-day business, as well as creative control over each brand, and disputes will be handled in-house.
“This is what we said, and I said [Vince] – What if we don’t agree on what we want to do? We’re not doing it,” Emanuel said. CNBC on Monday. “It’s my connection to Silver Lake. It’s my relationship with Dana. While Dana was linked with the UFC, Vince said he was linked with the WWE. He is going to say that. We have nothing to do with the creative process. That’s Vince’s and that’s Dana’s situation.
“Later things, we try and do what we do. I think that’s what he wants, but if there is a misunderstanding, it’s called a relationship. We do it and that’s how we are.
Emanuel is hands-on with the UFC when it comes to the day-to-day running of the promotion, while White still makes all the major decisions regarding talent, production and other major issues.
McMahon maintains a similar level of control at WWE, although he has stated that he won’t be as deep “in the weeds” with the brand as he once was.
Emanuel said he couldn’t imagine a better situation after working with White for the past seven years after buying the UFC for more than $4 billion. As part of its valuation as a combined company, Endeavor now values UFC at a whopping $12.1 billion.
“I am the luckiest person in the world,” Emmanuel said. “Because I’ve met Vince McMahon, a visionary who can see the corner. I’ve met Dana White and what we’ve built. That’s pretty unstoppable.”
“It’s mixed, rarefied air, both of us. I think analysts say it’s good for WWE shareholders and good for Endeavor shareholders.
As for McMahon, his family has owned WWE since its inception and this will be the first time since 1982 that he has not been solely responsible for decisions within the company.
While it may seem difficult to relinquish such control, McMahon promises he’s more than happy to strike this deal with Endeavor, especially after seeing what Emanuel and company have accomplished in the UFC over the past seven years.
“It’s a great day. One of the greatest days of my life,” McMahon said. “It’s the right time. It’s the right time to do the right thing. It’s the next evolution of WWE. I could probably do what Ari did [doing] In the UFC, it will probably take me 10 years.
“By the time I catch those 10 years, it’s 10 years ahead again. For all these mergers it makes all the sense in the world, we need to extract all the value we can from the marketplace. “
Emanuel added that he had considered such a partnership for some time after spending the past 23 years in business with McMahon and WWE, with Endeavor (formerly the William Morris Agency and then William Morris Endeavor) as a professional wrestling outfit’s talent agency.
“I always thought about this combination, especially with the Endeavor flywheel and what we could add to it and what it could be and bring it into a new company as a pure play. There’s nothing like it,” Emanuel said.
“[Vince] He gets value, which I don’t think is captured in WWE right now. I don’t think we got a clean price for the UFC. Plus, I think the market will help, and I think for Endeavor shareholders, they’re going to have a different view on Endeavor and the rest of the assets.
A big return on investment for Endeavor could come in the next two years, as both the UFC and WWE negotiate new media rights deals. The UFC currently partners exclusively with ESPN, while the WWE works with FOX and Comcast (NBC/Universal), as well as a separate deal for the WWE Network through Peacock Stream, which is also owned by Comcast.
It’s still impossible to predict how much the UFC and WWE can leverage their position when it comes to distribution deals, but now that the combined company shares common ownership, it’s hard to ignore.
“WWE’s deals with Comcast and Fox expire at the end of the 24th. And the UFC, of course, has an agreement with The Walt Disney Company that expires at the end of the 25th, Endeavor president Mark Shapiro told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Now remember, there’s nothing stopping us from going early with those incumbents if we want to. And at the same time, in the next couple of years, we’re going to have a choice to go with the best buyer, the best platform, the biggest price.
McMahon, smiling as he discussed those media rights deals, said none of them would go away, with the UFC and WWE holding strong positions in the marketplace, especially among the 18- to 49-year-old demographic.
“Nothing like the two of them. [companies] McMahon combined. “It’s live. This is the main thing. Our events are live. People want to watch live. This is one of the reasons why we are successful and able to be successful in all mediums. We can fit everywhere. We agree everywhere in terms of social media and other things.