UFC owners Endeavor officially closed their deal with pro wrestling leader WWE and launched a new company, TKO Group Holdings, at the New York Stock Exchange.
A news release from Endeavor officially confirmed the deal, with TKO labeled as “a premium sports and entertainment company.”
“TKO brings together UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and WWE, an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment, to create a new premium sports and entertainment company serving more than one billion young and diverse fans, reaching viewers in 180 countries, and producing more than 350 annual live events,” the release stated.
“Through this combination, TKO will leverage Endeavor’s expertise in areas including domestic and international media rights, ticket sales and yield optimization, event operations, global partnerships, licensing, and premium hospitality to drive revenue growth.”
CEO of Endeavor Ari Emanuel will serve as TKO’s CEO, and he hailed the new chapter for the UFC and WWE brands, saying, “The creation of TKO marks an exciting new chapter for UFC and WWE as leaders in global sports and entertainment.
“Given their continued connectivity to the Endeavor network, we are confident in our ability to accelerate their respective growth and unlock long-term sustainable value for shareholders.
“With UFC and WWE under one roof, we will provide unrivaled experiences for more than a billion passionate fans worldwide.”
Former WWE owner Vince McMahon will take the role of executive chairman at the new company, and said, “This is the culmination of a decades-long partnership between Endeavor and WWE across strategic initiatives including talent representation and media rights.
“Given our collaborative, trusted relationship and Endeavor’s incredible track record of success growing UFC, we believe WWE is optimally positioned for future growth and success as part of TKO.
“Our focus remains on delivering for our fans across the globe as we take the business to the next level alongside UFC and Endeavor.”
The TKO company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker label “TKO”. Endeavor holds a 51 percent controlling stake in the company, with existing WWE shareholders holding the remaining 49 percent.
TKO’s leadership team features Endeavor CEO Emanuel and COO Mark Shapiro, who will also take up equivalent roles in the new company. They are joined by CFO Andrew Schleimer and Endeavor’s CLO Seth Krauss, who also takes an equivalent role with TKO.
UFC president Dana White will now take the role of CEO of UFC, while Lawrence Epstein continues his roles of senior executive vice president and COO of UFC. WWE president Nick Khan will continue in that role.
TKO: Board of directors
- Ari Emanuel, CEO, Endeavor/TKO
- Mark Shapiro, COO, Endeavor/TKO
- Vince McMahon, Executive Chairman, TKO
- Nick Khan, President, WWE
- Peter C.B. Bynoe, Senior Advisor, DLA Piper LLP
- Egon P. Durban, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Silver Lake
- Steven R. Koonin, Chief Executive Officer, Atlanta Hawks, LLC
- Jonathan A. Kraft, President, Kraft Group LLC
- Sonya E. Medina, President and Chief Executive Officer, Reach Resilience
- Nancy R. Tellem, Executive Chairperson and Chief Media Officer, Eko
- Carrie Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer and board member, Opendoor Technologies Inc.