Vince McMahon, the longtime former CEO of WWE, is selling nearly one-third of his stake in TKO Group Holdings.
The wrestling impresario is unloading 8.4 million shares, which had a market value of around $700 million as of Thursday’s close. Last summer, McMahon was listed as owning 28 million shares in TKO, the newly formed parent of WWE and UFC. Endeavor, which owns the UFC, holds a 51% controlling interest in TKO, which began trading last September.
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In connection with McMahon’s sale, an SEC filing said, TKO as a company intends to acquire $100 million in shares. CEO Ari Emanuel and President and COO Mark Shapiro; and other members of TKO’s board of directors have “indicated an interest” in picking up $1 million in stock apiece, with a number of additional directors ticketed for another $850,000.
No shares are being sold by TKO as part of the transaction, a press release noted. The purchases by TKO and its management are separate from the activities of Endeavor.
TKO went public earlier this year as a vehicle for the combination of combat sports giants. Not long after the IPO, Endeavor revealed it was assessing its strategic options. Silver Lake Partners, a private equity firm that is Endeavor’s largest shareholder, said it was mulling a privatization plan for Endeavor. The parent of WME and IMG went public in 2021.
Endeavor spun out its most lucrative assets into TKO in the hope that would boost the former’s stock price. But the bump didn’t materialize and Emanuel said this month that Endeavor is exploring strategic alternatives, though its stake in TKO won’t change.
Earlier this week, TKO reported its first quarterly numbers, with results buoyed by media rights, content fees, live events and sponsorship. WWE’s financials were a bit softer, with executives citing the timing of certain events during the quarter ending September 30.
Jill Goldsmith contributed to this report.
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