Vince McMahon reportedly could use a potential sale of WWE to leverage his way back into the role of head of creative.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News), McMahon "of course" wants to regain creative control in WWE, and he may use his position as controlling stakeholder and WWE board of directors member to secure that and other powerful roles in negotiations with potential buyers of the company.
McMahon retired as WWE CEO, chairman and head of creative in July amid an investigation by the WWE board of directors into allegations he paid multiple women millions of dollars in "hush money" so they would remain silent about sexual relationships they had with him, and even sexual misconduct allegations in some cases.
The 77-year-old McMahon's retirement came to an abrupt end last week, however, when WWE announced his return to the board of directors in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):
Brandon Thurston @BrandonThurston
Vince McMahon is back on WWE's board of directors. <br><br>A new filing says effective immediately Vince puts himself, Michelle Wilson, and George Barrios on the board and removes independent directors Alan Wexler, JoEllen Lyons Dillon, and Jeffrey Speed.<a href="https://t.co/HGzFZNvaXM">https://t.co/HGzFZNvaXM</a> <a href="https://t.co/Y3HIRGearx">pic.twitter.com/Y3HIRGearx</a>
While many fans and observers assumed it may have been a ploy on McMahon's part to return to creative power, he said in a statement that his return is related to his desire to have a hand in television rights negotiations as the majority shareholder in the company.
McMahon also wrote in the statement that he does "not intend" to impact the status of the WWE management that is currently in place. That includes his son-in-law, Triple H, who took over as head of creative following McMahon's departure.
Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer (h/t Sunil Joseph of Ringside News) reported last week that WWE sent a letter to WWE employees and talent, stating that the existing power structure will remain in place, including Triple H as creative director.
Neither McMahon nor WWE as a whole have publicly expressed a plan to sell, but CNBC's Alex Sherman reported Saturday that WWE hired investment banking company JPMorgan to aid in a potential sale.
Sherman added that the sale would likely take place in the next three to six months if it happens, and listed Comcast, Fox, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Netflix, Amazon, UFC owner Endeavor Group Holdings and Formula One owner Liberty Media as potential buyers.
Meltzer noted that a sale occurring without McMahon's involvement probably would have ensured that he never could have returned to power.
With McMahon playing a role, however, Meltzer anticipates he will be able to "facilitate" a move back into creative power following a sale "without it having negative repercussions."
It may not be that simple for McMahon, though, as a prospective buyer might not want to have him attached to the company any longer given the allegations against him.
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