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Layoffs Begin At WWE Days After Merger With UFC Closes

  • Sources reveal over 100 positions could be eliminated as part of restructuring.
  • Merged company seeks $50 million to $100 million in savings.
WWE's stock has surged 58% year to date.
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

World Wrestling Entertainment has eliminated dozens of positions following the creation of TKO Holdings, which brings together WWE and UFC.

Pink slips started flying at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Conn., on Friday following the official creation of the new publicly traded company.

Unfortunately, the layoffs at WWE could number over 100 positions, sources said. Before the merger, WWE had nearly 1,000 employees. 

The job cuts are part of a drive to find $50 million to $100 million in savings from the union of the two live entertainment giants. Most of the jobs eliminated were duplicate positions between the two companies and parent Endeavor Group Holdings, sources said.

“As part of WWE’s transition into the newly formed TKO Group Holdings, we are evaluating our existing operations and systems to identify potential synergies across the business,” wrote WWE president Nick Khan in an internal memo Thursday night. “This effort includes workforce reductions, which will take place tomorrow.”

Endeavor owns 51% of the combined company. The move wasn’t unexpected, and a source said Endeavor was planning to eliminate redundancies created by the merger early in the agency’s pursuit of WWE late last year. 

“Planning is underway to begin maximizing revenue and cost synergies immediately upon closing and I’m bullish on the TKO outlook and the progress of the WWE media renewal discussions,”  Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said in an earnings call last month.  

Among those leaving WWE, said sources, are Jamie Horowitz, executive vice president of development and digital, and Horowitz’s team in Los Angeles.

Horowitz is expected to work closely with Omaha Productions, which he helped co-found with Peyton Manning in December 2020 before joining WWE.

Omaha won a Sports Emmy for its popular “ManningCast” with Peyton and Eli Manning. Earlier this year, Peter Chernin’s North Road invested $10 million into Omaha, valuing the company at $400 million.

During previous management stops at Fox Sports and ESPN, Horowitz popularized “Embrace Debate” and led the creation of Stephen A. Smith’s “First Take” and Skip Bayless’ “Undisputed.”

Sources said Horowitz left WWE on good terms and remains close with longtime friend Nick Khan, the former CAA super-agent turned president of WWE.

WWE declined to comment. An Endeavor spokesperson referred FOS’ inquiries to WWE. 

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