Endeavor Group Holdings and WWE have unveiled plans to merge their renowned sports and entertainment brands, UFC and WWE, into a new company. Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new entity, with existing WWE shareholders owning the remaining 49%.
The newly formed company will be led by Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel as CEO and WWE executive chairman Vince McMahon as executive chairman. Mark Shapiro will assume the role of president and chief operating officer for both Endeavor and the new company, while Dana White and Nick Khan will continue in their respective roles as president of UFC and WWE.
The merger is set to close in the second half of the year, uniting two global sports and entertainment powerhouses with combined revenue of $2.4 billion and a 10% annual growth rate since 2019. The deal is expected to generate $50 million to $100 million in annual operating synergies by following a similar integration model as UFC’s earlier acquisition.
The new company will leverage Endeavor’s sports and media infrastructure, including the WME talent agency, to grow its profitability through increased sponsorship licensing and premium hospitality revenues.
Endeavor and the new entity will also focus on expanding domestic and international media rights for UFC and WWE, with renewals on the horizon for both brands. The combined company will look to create more content, increase the number of live events, and explore unique direct-to-consumer opportunities.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring together two leading pureplay sports and entertainment companies that operate in the most attractive parts of the media ecosystem,” Emanuel said. He added that the transaction is a natural evolution of Endeavor’s strategy and a compelling opportunity to grow their global business.
McMahon, who returned to WWE earlier this year, expressed confidence in the merger, highlighting the potential for maximizing media rights value, enhancing sponsorship monetization, developing new content, and pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions to further strengthen the new company’s brand portfolio.