[UPDATED] Saudi Arabia could be buying the WWE

  • Vince McMahon is looking to sell his wrestling entertainment empire to Saudi Arabia, according to unconfirmed reports from several publications.
  • McMahon recently made an aggressive return to the WWE’s board of directors to facilitate a sale of the $6.27 billion globally recognised company.
  • Many fans have reacted negatively to the news on social media.

*Update: According to CNBC and combat sports journalist Ariel Helwani there has been no confirmed deal between the WWE and Saudi Arabia’s PIF at this moment. WWE is still in talks with prospective buyers, including Saudi Arabia.

Original article below:

In a twist that is sure to leave many wrestling fans scrambling, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia looks to be the front-runner to purchase Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE).

Reports indicate that Saudi Arabia has made recent forays into diversifying its economy from its substantial oil revenues, and one of these is the supposed purchase of the professional wrestling giant “if the promotion puts itself up for sale.”

Well, last week ousted CEO McMahon made an aggressive comeback to the company’s board of directors in order to “facilitate potential sale talks,” reports CNBC. Sources said that the WWE contracted investment banking firm JP Morgan to help facilitate the sale.

McMahon “retired” last year in July after a controversial sexual misconduct scandal emerged, where the promoter allegedly was paying four women millions of company dollars in hush money.

As McMahon returned to power on the company’s board of directors, his daughter, current co-CEO and chairwoman Stephanie McMahon this morning announced her resignation.

She cites the return of her father as the reason for her departure, as he “leads an exciting process regarding strategic alternatives.”

Today, several publications like Deadspin and Dexerto as well as many professional wrestling media outlets are reporting that Vince McMahon is selling the WWE, with a market cap of $6.27 billion, to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The fund is among the world’s largest sovereign investment funds, with assets estimated at $620 billion. It was established by the government to fund projects of significance to the kingdom’s economy.

Reports at this juncture are unconfirmed and the WWE has not made any official statements, with some journalists explaining that the publically traded company will have to first inform its stakeholders. There have also yet to be any sales figures announced.

The WWE is a valuable entertainment commodity which produces entirely unique episodic content with characters known throughout the world. In 2018, Fox signed a $1 billion 5-year deal with the WWE to air its SmackDown! TV show every Friday night.

Some of the world’s biggest movie stars were former WWE wrestlers, including Dave Bautista, John Cena and Dwayne Johnson. Outside the US, the company maintains enormous popularity in India and across Africa, specifically.

In South Africa, satellite media provider DStv has a dedicated channel for WWE’s content, which includes WWE Jambo, a show where African presenters discuss the latest news from WWE’s Raw, SmackDown! and NXT programmes.

The reported Saudi purchase throws a spanner into the works as CNBC previously indicated that American companies like Disney, Comcast, Fox, Warner Bros. Discovery, Amazon and Netflix, among others, were all lining up as potential buyers.

WWE has been running partnered live events with the Saudi monarchy since 2018. The latest event, Crown Jewel 2022 held at the Mrsool Park arena in Riyadh featured a highly promoted matchup between Logan Paul and WWE champion Roman Reigns.

Saudi Arabia has long been dealing with spates of ongoing alleged human rights violations, including the corporal and capital punishment of LGBT individuals, mistreatment of women, the murder of journalists who criticise the regime and many others.

Many fans on social media have reacted negatively to the news of the supposed sale.

[Image – WWE]


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