NEW YORK: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the world’s biggest sports entertainment company and the top mixed martial arts promotion (UFC) completed their merger to form a new entity named TKO Group Holdings.
WWE announced the merger through their website. Endeavor Group Holdings owns the UFC.
“Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EDR) (“Endeavor”) and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (previously NYSE: WWE) (“WWE”) today announced the close of their previously announced agreement and the launch of TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO) (“TKO”),” said a statement by WWE.
TKO brings together UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and WWE, an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment, to create a new premium sports and entertainment company serving more than one billion young and diverse fans, reaching viewers in 180 countries, and producing more than 350 annual live events.
“The creation of TKO marks an exciting new chapter for UFC and WWE as leaders in global sports and entertainment,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor and TKO.
“Given their continued connectivity to the Endeavor network, we are confident in our ability to accelerate their respective growth and unlock long-term sustainable value for shareholders. With UFC and WWE under one roof, we will provide unrivaled experiences for more than a billion passionate fans worldwide,” he added.
“This is the culmination of a decades-long partnership between Endeavor and WWE across strategic initiatives including talent representation and media rights. Given our collaborative, trusted relationship and Endeavor’s incredible track record of success growing UFC, we believe WWE is optimally positioned for future growth and success as part of TKO,” said Vince McMahon, Executive Chairman of TKO and the founder of WWE.
“Our focus remains on delivering for our fans across the globe as we take the business to the next level alongside UFC and Endeavor,” he added.
TKO will begin trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “TKO,” with Endeavor holding a 51 per cent controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders holding a 49 per cent interest in the new company, on a fully diluted basis.
As previously announced, TKO is led by:
- -Ariel Emanuel, Chief Executive Officer, who continues as Chief Executive Officer of Endeavor;
- -Mark Shapiro, President and Chief Operating Officer, who continues as President and Chief Operating Officer of Endeavor;
- -Andrew Schleimer, Chief Financial Officer; and
- -Seth Krauss, Chief Legal Officer, who continues as Chief Legal Officer of Endeavor.
Dana White is now Chief Executive Officer of UFC and Lawrence Epstein remains Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UFC. Nick Khan continues at WWE in the role of President.
The Board of Directors of TKO is led by Vince McMahon as Executive Chairman of the Board and consists of 11 members, including Emanuel, Shapiro, and Khan, in addition to the following directors:
- -Peter C.B. Bynoe, Senior Advisor at DLA Piper LLP;
- -Egon P. Durban, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Silver Lake;
- -Steven R. Koonin, Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Hawks, LLC;
- -Jonathan A. Kraft, President of the Kraft Group LLC;
- -Sonya E. Medina, President and Chief Executive Officer of Reach Resilience;
- -Nancy R. Tellem, Executive Chairperson and Chief Media Officer of Eko; and
- -Carrie Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer and a board member of Opendoor Technologies Inc. (ANI)