The deal, which is expected to close in the second half of 2023, will see Endeavor holding a controlling 51% stake in the new company, with WWE holding the remaining 49%, the companies said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.
While the new entertainment company has yet to be named, its executives have been. Current Endeavor Chief Executive Officer Ari Emanuel will led the new company, with Vince McMahon acting as Executive Chairman of the Board and Mark Shapiro will be President and Chief Operating Officer of both Endeavor and the new company. Dana White will continue his role as President of UFC and Nick Khan will be President of WWE.
The company will also appoint its Board of Directors at a later date, with Endeavor and WWE naming 6 and 5, respectively. At close, the company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TKO.
"This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed," said Emanuel in the filing. "For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creations, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together."
UFC is valued at $12.1 billion under the transaction, while WWE is valued at $9.3 billion, the companies said in the filing. Moreover, on a combine 2022 fiscal year-end basis, the two sports brands garnered revenues of $2.4 billion and a 10% annual revenue growth rate since 2019.
"The new company will be well-positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster out strong stable brands," McMahon said in the filing.
To that point, McMahon sees the combined WWE and UFC as a "$21+ billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse," boasting more than a billion fans worldwide.
The combined company expects to deliver an estimated $50 million to $100 million in annualized run rate cost synergies, according to the filing. Moreover, Endeavor expects to see significant revenue growth following the transaction across domestic and international media rights, ticket sales and yield optimization, event operations, sponsorship, licensing and premium hospitality.
The transaction comes as McMahon returned to WWE management, with his driving purpose being the potential sale of the wrestling behemoth. The long-time head of the sport entertainment company had left his role in July 2022 to retire amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations. McMahon returned to the company in January as executive chair as WWE looked for buyers.
The merger also comes on the heels of WWE's most successful "Wrestlemania" of all time, with over 500 million views and 11 million hours of video content consumed over the two-day period -- rising 42% year-over-year. The event generated over $21.6 billion, topping the previous record by 27%.