In early January, Vince McMahon announce that as majority shareholder in the company, he was electing himself back to the WWE Board of Directors in order to facilitate a sale of the company despite having retired in July amidst an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct and hush money payments.
In the months to follow, it was reported that numerous potential buyers were interested, including Endeavor, the Saudi Arabia Investment Fund, and even AEW owners Shahid and Tony Khan. Vince McMahon reportedly wants as much as $9 billion to sell WWE, a sum far more than its total stock market value.
In an update on Squawk on the Street, financial analyst David Faber said the sale process is going well, with some describing it as “hot and heavy.”
“What I’m hearing, at least from people familiar with the situation is, it’s shaping up to be a pretty good sale process. Some people saying, ‘pretty hot and heavy.’ Those who were even somewhat doubtful, in fact, that you’d get to a sale in the end, seem less so. Does that mean something gets done here? Unclear.”
Faber went on to discuss some of the interested parties in the process.
“Who is participating? We can all take our various guesses. As reported previously, is there interest from Endeavor, for example, in pursuing what would be a complex transaction in terms of reverse Morris trust where they would spin off UFC into [a new company] and control that company, which would be merged with WWE. Sure, they would like to explore that concept.
“Is there private equity interest in the part of some? Perhaps in partnership with well-known names in the sport. That’s a possibility. Does Liberty (media) have an interest in taking a look? Sure. The Saudis moved heavily into golf, took a look at Formula 1. Would the [Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund] have interest? Yes, that’s a possibility. There may be others.”
WWE Sale Expected To Conclude In “Not Too Distant Future”
Continuing, Faber reiterated that the sale process is going quite well, and that it is expected to conclude relatively soon. He also revealed that Comcast no longer seems to be an interested party in the WWE sale.
“Something has led, at least to a number of people close to this, to indicate to me that it is not just live, but it’s going quite well. It is expected to conclude in the not too distant future. A key here though, remains McMahon’s real willingness to sell. Comcast, my understanding, not part of this sale process.”
This backs up WWE CEO Nick Khan’s February statement that the sale could be finalized within months.