While Endeavor was ultimately successful in its purchase of WWE, another bidder is said to have pushed them until the end of the process.
In a recent interview with Puck, the President and COO of Endeavor, Mark Shapiro, revealed that his company made their initial bid for WWE only weeks ago in mid-March during a meeting with Vince McMahon and Nick Khan before following up with a “more emotional pitch” the following week.
“The pair outlined their proposal during a meeting with WWE chairman Vince McMahon and C.E.O. Nick Khan at Raine Group offices, in New York, in mid-March, sources involved with the deal told me, and made a more emotional pitch one week later at WWE headquarters in Stamford.”
According to Puck’s report, they were facing stiff competition from Liberty Media, which already owns Formula 1, the Atlanta Braves, and SiriusXM.
“Still, they faced stiff competition from at least one rival bidder—John Malone’s Liberty Media, the owner of Formula One—until the very end, and it wasn’t until Saturday night [April 1st] that they signed the term sheet. As Shapiro described it, “it was nip and tuck all the way.”
Shapiro believes that Endeavor’s ownership of the sports entertainment giant will be a bonus when it comes to renegotiating media rights deals in 2024.
“There’s no question that when Nick goes in to renew his domestic deals, having us at the table, with our relationships and our portfolio of assets, will be helpful in the process.”
When it comes to the merging of WWE and UFC into one entity, the COO is confident of finding savings of up to $100 million through “synergies: layoffs and operational efficiencies”.
“Anything from H.R. to finance to legal to communications production to distribution and marketing. Across every area, you’re going to find cost synergies; you’re going to integrate and ultimately highlight and appoint the best and brightest teams.”
WWE facing investigation over UFC merger
It is thought that the purchase will be completed in the second half of 2023, pending regulatory approval. However, WWE is already facing a legal investigation as law firm Ademi LLP looks to determine whether the Vince McMahon-led Board of Directors is fulfilling its duty to shareholders.