Back in April, it was announced that WWE was set to merge with UFC to form a new $21+ billion entity under parent company Endeavor. Talk of a sale had been in the news for months, ever since Vince McMahon returned to the Board of Directors in January after retiring last July amidst an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct and hush money payments.
Endeavor head Ari Emanuel will serve as CEO of the new corporation, which will be called TKO Group and is listed on the stock exchange under the symbol TKO. Vince McMahon has been named Executive Chairman of the Board, while Dana White and Nick Khan will serve as UFC and WWE Presidents respectively.
Mark Shapiro Praises Nick Khan’s People Skills
In a recent chat on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch, President and COO Of Endeavour Mark Shapiro heaped praised on WWE Executive Nick Khan:
“I don’t work with Nick day in and day out with the WWE, so I’m not best to talk about his full range of attributes. I can just speak to my personal experience. I worked with Nick back when I was at ESPN. Nick is a relationship guy.
He spends a lot of time, honest time, dedicated time, real authentic time building relationships, maintaining relationships, sustaining relationships, and back and forth relationships. He’s a what you see, what you get guy. He wears his emotions on his sleeves, he’s very direct, you know where you stand.
I enjoyed all my negotiations with him over the years at ESPN and was a fan of his at CAA as he was building out that sports broadcast business, from scratch. They’ve got some terrific guys over there (Matt) Kramar and (David) Koonin, disciples of Nick, but when he was there, he had an incredible roster of talent. I would tell you that, if he goes about his business in WWE in the same fashion and manner of which he went about his business at CAA, then the sky is the limit.”
Shapiro would go on to note that he believes Endeavour will be able to grow WWE’s business as well as developing Superstars through out of the ring activities such as reality shows, movies and commercial endorsements:
“We’re going to run the UFC playbook. The opportunity to put Vince McMahon’s creative head with Dana and Ari is going to create a significant amount of value for shareholders.
That’s how it has successfully played out for the UFC over the last six years. Remember when we bought it for $4.1 billion? People thought that price was crazy. Now, it is valued at $12.1 billion. I mean, what a story. We hope to do the same thing with the WWE.”
HT: Fightful for the above transcript