The merger of the UFC and WWE will now be carried out under a new corporate name, TKO Group Holdings, with intentions to take the company public on the stock exchange before the conclusion of 2023.
Endeavor, the existing parent company of the UFC, revealed this development via CNBC on Tuesday, following their initial announcement of the merger plans in April. Upon going public, the merged entity will trade under the symbol TKO on the New York Stock Exchange.
With a projected valuation exceeding $21 billion, the newly formed company holds substantial financial prospects.
The agreement was solidified after Endeavor acquired a majority stake in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), subsequent to their acquisition of the UFC in 2016. Ari Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, will assume the role of CEO for TKO Group Holdings, while Vince McMahon, the controlling shareholder of WWE, will serve as executive chairman.
Under the newly established company structure, Endeavor will hold a majority stake of 51 percent, while WWE shareholders will maintain control over the remaining 49 percent.
Ari Emanuel, in a previous statement, confirmed that Dana White will continue as president of the UFC, while Nick Khan will retain his position as president of WWE. The formation of this new company is not expected to impact the ongoing operations of UFC or WWE. Rather, it aims to facilitate collaboration between the two organizations in areas such as promotion, advertising, and sponsorships.
TKO Group Holdings is also poised to benefit from upcoming lucrative broadcast rights agreements for both the UFC and WWE. These deals have the potential to further elevate the company's valuation in the years to come.
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pure-play built for where the industry is headed,” Emanuel said in April. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”
While releasing first quarter results for Endeavor on May 9, executives stated that the deal for the merger between UFC and WWE should hopefully be finalized in the second half of 2023, assuming all regulatory hurdles are cleared.
From there, Endeavor will fully spinoff TKO Group Holdings, with plans to take the company public on the stock exchange.