The WWE return of Vince McMahon has led to a lot of questions about why he’s trying to sell the company now and there is some insight into his thinking.
Following the news of Vince McMahon returning to WWE with the intention to sell the company, followers of WWE are wondering why he is doing this now.
In this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter (available via subscription), Dave Meltzer mentioned an uncertain media environment while adding that McMahon making it public that he wants to sell the company is going to drive up the company’s sale price.
“While the story didn’t say so, the uncertain media environment could lessen their value at sale, and also result in not getting a big rights increase. The current share price of the company is based on a new rights deal for Raw and Smackdown that is expected to be in the range of $700 million. A deal that comes up lower will likely lead to a share price decline in the event no sale is completed by that time.”
“But going public with talks of negotiations imminent for a sale will make the share prices increase, and thus the danger of lowering the share price with a McMahon return, and the class action lawsuits that could follow, has a lower percentage of happening. Negotiating a sale with NBCU as part of the rights deal changes the ball game greatly going forward.”
As Meltzer continued, he noted that while the media landscape is uncertain, WWE is in a powerful spot right now.
“The media landscape is uncertain but WWE is very powerful right now with it holding steady as television is declining, and it being a very valuable potential streaming property. Even with an uncertain media future, they could get an increase by having multiple suitors.”
“With business rumors already out from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal who predicted that NBCU could end up with Smackdown and put it on the NBC network itself, as a precursor to buying the company. The idea of the next-day streaming rights that Hulu has until the end of September being bid on by Peacock also makes all the sense in the world, which would make WWE a key part of network, cable and streaming for NBCU.”
In a letter to the WWE Board of Directors dated on December 20th, Vince McMahon stated that current WWE Chairwoman Stephanie McMahon (Vince’s daughter), who is also Co-CEO with Nick Khan and WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque, have his full support:
“Stephanie, Nick, Paul, and the rest of the management team have my full and unconditional support, and as Executive Chairman, I would support them to facilitate unified, efficient, and effective decision-making during this important period in the Company’s history.”
To this point, Vince McMahon’s statements have been about wanting to sell WWE and he has said also that “WWE has an exceptional management team in place, and I do not intend for my return to have any impact on their roles, duties, or responsibilities.”