The UFC and WWE will join forces under a new company name, TKO Group Holdings, and have set their sights on going public before the end of 2023. The announcement, made by Endeavor, the current parent company of the UFC, was shared through CNBC, following their initial reveal of the merger plans in April. Once the merger is complete, TKO Group Holdings will operate under the TKO symbol on the New York Stock Exchange, projecting a valuation of over $21 billion.
The merger came to fruition after Endeavor acquired a majority share in World Wrestling Entertainment, having previously purchased the UFC in 2016. Ari Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, will assume the role of CEO for TKO Group Holdings, while Vince McMahon, WWE’s controlling shareholder, will serve as executive chairman. The new company structure will see Endeavor holding a 51 percent stake, while WWE shareholders will control the remaining 49 percent.
Dana White, the current president of the UFC, will continue in his role, alongside Nick Khan, who will remain president at WWE. The formation of this new company is not expected to have an immediate impact on the day-to-day operations of either UFC or WWE. Instead, it will enable the two organizations to leverage their strengths in areas such as promotion, advertising, and sponsorships.
TKO Group Holdings is poised to secure lucrative broadcast rights deals for both the UFC and WWE, which could contribute to further increasing the company’s valuation in the years to come. Ari Emanuel expressed his enthusiasm for the merger, highlighting the unique opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment entity that aligns with industry trends. He commended Vince McMahon and his team for their history of innovation and shareholder value creation, expressing confidence that bringing together the UFC and WWE will generate significant additional value for shareholders.
Endeavor expects to finalize the merger between the UFC and WWE in the second half of 2023, pending regulatory approvals. Following the completion of the merger, Endeavor will proceed with the full spinoff of TKO Group Holdings and pursue the company’s public listing on the stock exchange.