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fighting chance

Martial arts powerhouses WWE and UFC to form joint sports entertainment company

Rumours had been swirling about who would be interested in buying WWE after reports in January it could be up for sale.

WWE AND THE company that runs Ultimate Fighting Championship have announced plans to combine to create a $21.4 billion sports entertainment company.

A new publicly traded company will be formed that houses the UFC and WWE brands.

Rumours had been swirling about who would be interested in buying WWE, with companies such as Endeavor, Disney, Fox, Comcast, Amazon and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund the subject of speculation.

Industry experts had viewed WWE as an attractive acquisition target due to its global reach, loyal fanbase, and extensive social media presence.

It surpassed 16 billion social video views in the final quarter of last year, with nearly 94 million YouTube subscribers and more than 20 million followers on TikTok.

Its female wrestlers comprise five out of the top 15 most followed female athletes in the world across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, led by Ronda Rousey with 36.1 million followers.

WWE had more than 7.5 billion digital and social media views in January and February of this year, up 15% from the same time frame a year ago.

Once the deal is complete, Endeavor Group Holdings will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49% stake.

The new business will be led by Endeavor chief executive Ari Emanuel, who will also remain as head of Endeavor.

Vince McMahon, executive chairman at WWE, will serve in the same role at the new company.

The announcement comes after McMahon, the founder and majority shareholder of WWE, returned to the company in January and said that it could be up for sale.

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