Despite recent buzz that a WWE sale could be imminent, it sounds more likely a deal will take at least a few months.
On Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Nikunj Walia of Ringside News), Dave Meltzer said the WWE leadership is "looking to sell by the middle of the year."
Vince McMahon officially returned to WWE as a member of the board on Jan. 6. He said in a statement the move was tied directly to the company's upcoming media rights negotiations:
"WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms. The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives. My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder."
CNBC's Alex Sherman reported on Jan. 7 that WWE hired JPMorgan to advise the company on a potential sale.
Amid rumors on Tuesday that WWE had been sold to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, combat sports insider Ariel Helwani reported there was "no deal in place at this precise moment" for the company to be sold to any entity and all options were being explored.
Other entities that have been connected to WWE for a potential sale include NBCUniversal and Endeavor. NBCUniversal has a longstanding relationship with the company as the home of Raw on USA and live premium events streaming on Peacock.
A sale to Saudi Arabia would allow WWE to go back to being a private company. It has been a publicly-traded company since October 1999. The wrestling promotion has a market cap of $6.65 billion.
The timing of a potential sale coincides with WWE looking to secure new media rights deals. Its current television agreements with NBCUniversal for Raw and Fox for SmackDown are set to expire in October 2024.
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