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 had returned as Chairman of the Board. McMahon, who owns controlling shares of 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 per DAZN pro wrestling reporter Steven Muehlhausen.
WWE, which is the leading professional wrestling company and has broadcasting deals with USA Network, Peacock, and Fox, went public back on August 3, 1999. Previously, the business was owned by the McMahon family.
News of a sale isn’t completely shocking as McMahon made it clear that he intended to return in order to sell the company.
“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,” said McMahon last week. “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.”
Last year, McMahon came under fire over various reports alleging the former chairman of having paid upwards of $12 million in hush money to various women to cover up claims of sexual misconduct and infidelity. An initial report that alleged McMahon had paid $3 million in hush money to a woman that he was allegedly having an affair with. As a result of that report, McMahon stepped back from his role as chief executive officer of WWE while the board continued its investigation.