World Wrestling Entertainment is reportedly being sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
The news comes just hours after the bombshell that Stephanie McMahon had resigned from the company after her father Vince McMahon returned as chairman. McMahon, who owns a controlling stake in the company, is said to have sold the company to Saudi Arabia in a move that will take the company off the public stock market and back to being a private business, according to DAZN pro wrestling reporter Steven Muehlhausen.
WWE, which is the leading professional wrestling company and has broadcast deals with USA Network, Peacock and Fox, went public on August 3, 1999. Previously, the company was owned by the McMahon family.
The news of a sale isn’t entirely shocking, as McMahon made it clear that he intended to return to sell the company.
“WWE is entering a critical time in its history with 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,” McMahon said last week. . “The only way WWE can fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in negotiating our media rights and combine that with a review of strategic alternatives. My return will allow WWE, as well as all transaction counterparties, to participate in these processes knowing that they will have the support of the controlling shareholder.”
Last year, McMahon came under fire over various reports that alleged the former chairman paid up to $12 million in hush money to various women to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity. An first report alleging that McMahon had paid $3 million in hush money to a woman with whom he allegedly had an affair. As a result of this report, McMahon stepped down from his role as CEO of WWE while the board continued its investigation.