WWE and the UFC parent made things official in an SEC filing Monday morning, confirming their merger into a combat sports colossus controlled by Endeavor Group Holdings.
Word surfaced on Sunday of the combination, capping a months-long effort by WWE to explore a deal. The wrestling circuit has proven to be one of the most reliable ratings draws in an era of fragmentation, and is now going to be under the same roof as mixed martial arts outfit UFC, a potent draw among young male fans.
In the filing, the companies said a new public entity will be run by Ari Emanuel, who is also continuing as Endeavor’s CEO. The new company, valued at $21 billion, will be a subsidiary of Endeavor, with 51% of it controlled by Endeavor and the other 49% controlled by WWE.
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Vince McMahon, who has become the personification of WWE, serving as its business leader and ring emcee for decades since taking over his father’s operation and rebooting it in the 1980s, will be executive chair of the new entity’s board. Dana White will continue as president of UFC. Both McMahon and White have been under scrutiny over the past year, with McMahon stepping away from WWE during an investigation of multiple claims of sexual misconduct charges before returning as exec chairman in January. White was captured on video engaging in a physical altercation with his wife.
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” Emanuel said in a press release. “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.”
The new company’s valuation reflects $12.1 billion in enterprise value for UFC and $9.3 billion for WWE. The parties expect $50 million to $100 million in annual cost synergies.
“Given the incredible work that Ari 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,” McMahon said.
Eleven members of the board of directors — six selected by UFC and five by WWE — will be appointed at a later date.
Endeavor first took control of UFC in a private equity backed deal in 2016, gaining full ownership in 2021 at the same time it went public on the New York Stock Exchange.
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