Thursday December 7, 2023

McMahon Selling $713M in TKO Stock, Ari Emanuel May Be a Buyer

  • Bombshell announcement to bring big changes to company's ownership structure
  • TKO warns that McMahon's presence on the board could have "adverse" impacts
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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WWE and UFC parent company TKO Group Holdings is set for a sizable shift in its ownership structure. WWE founder Vince McMahon is selling 8.4 million shares in the company, an interest currently worth more than $713 million.

The Endeavor-controlled TKO filed a prospectus with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission late Thursday detailing the bombshell offering. The shares amount to roughly 10% of the company and comprise nearly a third of McMahon’s interest in TKO. 

Notice of the sale arrives three days after TKO indicated in a separate SEC filing that “Mr. McMahon’s membership on our board could have adverse financial and operational impacts on our business.” 

Despite his status as TKO executive chairman, McMahon has been under investigation by the company for sexual misconduct and was served with a federal grand jury subpoena this past summer, though no charges have been filed.

TKO — which is 51% controlled by Endeavor — indicated it intends to buy about $100 million worth of the shares. Endeavor and TKO CEO Ari Emanuel, president and COO Mark Shapiro, and other TKO directors said they intend to buy $1 million, $1 million, and $850,000 worth of the stock, respectively.

Historic Shift

The McMahon sale marks major changes for the company, as he developed WWE more than four decades ago from a minor pro wrestling circuit to a global entertainment colossus. TKO shares dipped more than 5% in after-hours trading Thursday following the news. 

Earlier this week, TKO reported revenue growth in its first quarterly earnings report since becoming a standalone company, in turn fueling meaningful gains on Endeavor’s balance sheet as it considers going private.

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