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Report: UFC parent company Endeavor finalizing deal to buy WWE

The alleged $9.3 billion deal would see UFC & WWE merged into a new company that Vince McMahon would help run as executive chairman.

Talk of a WWE sale intensified over the last week, with even skeptics now saying Vince McMahon was motivated to sell. People in and outside the company talked about how prospective buyers would be at WrestleMania week in Los Angeles looking to talk deal with McMahon, CEO Nick Khan, and others engaged in the sale process.

One of those suitors is apparently in “advanced talks” to purchase the company. Sources tell CNBC that Endeavor, the parent company of UFC, could be announced as WWE’s new owner as soon as tomorrow.

Under the alleged deal, Endeavor would own 51% of WWE. WWE shareholders would retain 49% ownership. The enterprise value of WWE would be $9.3 billion, which is in line with reports indicated McMahon was asking for the company he took control of in the early 1980s for an estimated $1 million.

Plans call for WWE and UFC to be merged as part of a new, publicly traded company. Endeavor chief Ari Emanuel would be CEO of the new company, and Endeavor President Mark Shapiro would serve as its President. McMahon would be executive chairman. Current WWE CEO Nick Khan would be in charge of the wrestling business, while UFC president Dana White would continue to run the mixed martial arts brand.

Emanuel seemed to downplay Endeavor’s interest in buying WWE during an investor call last month, but if CNBC’s report is correct that was likely just his opening position.

If the deal does go through, it will open up a whole new round of questions about the media rights strategy, as the existing contracts for Raw, NXT & SmackDown are all up next year. It will also complete an amazing comeback from McMahon, who last July resigned while the WWE Board of Directors was investigating hush money and sexual misconduct allegations against him. He maneuvered his way back onto the Board in January, ousting those that led the investigation in the process. Now, he stands to retain control of the operation while adding to his already massive fortune in the process.

Buckle up, wrestling fans.

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