Passing the Championship Belt: WWE's Vince McMahon Sells Wrestling Empire

Did Vince McMahon sell WWE? Rumors suggest WWE could be sold to the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund or Endeavor. Are the rumors true?

Kathryn Underwood - Author

May 9 2023, Updated 11:00 a.m. ET

WWE wrestlers hyping fans.
Source: WWE Facebook

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., or WWE, has experienced a great deal of change since its founder and CEO, Vince McMahon, retired in 2022 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. However, his departure from the world of wrestling was short-lived because he rejoined the company in January 2023.

During McMahon's brief hiatus, Stephanie McMahon, his daughter, took over as co-CEO for a few months, but announced her resignation on Jan. 10, 2023. A few months after, WWE sold. So, who owns WWE?

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Hours after Stephanie McMahon resigned as co-CEO following her father's return from retirement, another big piece of WWE news surfaced. The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund was named as an interested buyer of WWE. Did the deal go through? Here's an update on all that has happened in the WWE world and who owns it now.

Stephanie McMahon in a black top and jean jacket sitting in a cement chair.
Source: Stephanie McMahon FB

Stephanie McMahon stepped down as co-CEO on January 10, 2023.

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Who bought WWE?

WWE has faced quite a bit of turmoil, especially since the July 2022 allegations that led to Vince McMahon's brief retirement from the top position at the company. His daughter Stephanie was chairwoman of WWE and the co-CEO along with Nick Khan, but on Jan. 10, she announced she was stepping down, leaving Khan as the sole CEO.

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As ESPN reported, Stephanie's resignation came just days after Vince McMahon came out of retirement to rejoin the WWE's board. McMahon said he was returning to "fully capitalize" on WWE's upcoming media rights negotiations. The Wall Street Journal also reported that McMahon returned to pursue a possible sale of the company.

WWE wrestlers standing in the ring looking out at the crowd.
Source: WWE Facebook
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Did Saudi Arabia buy WWE?

Although there was a bit of a media frenzy late on Jan. 10, 2023, indicating a sale to the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund was likely, newer reports indicate that it was only a rumor. TMZ sources note that Saudi Arabia's fund didn't buy the wrestling entertainment company.

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Bleacher Report also denied the reports that WWE had been sold. Fans of WWE have speculated since the allegations surfaced against McMahon that he might try to orchestrate a sale that would allow him to remain at the WWE's helm. And it appears they were right.

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Stephanie McMahon and Paul 'Triple H' Levesque stand in the wrestling ring.
Source: Stephanie McMahon Facebook

Who owns WWE?

The leadership at WWE has shifted quite a bit in 2023. Of course, McMahon's departure from the CEO position in July 2022 was a major move. Stephanie stepped up to co-lead the company with Khan. Her husband, Paul 'Triple H' Levesque, serves as chief content officer.

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Stephanie stated on her social media accounts: "WWE is in such a strong position that I have decided to return to my leave and take it one step further with my official resignation. I look forward to cheering on WWE from the other side of the business, where I started when I was a little kid, as a pure fan."

McMahon announced his pride in Stephanie's work as CEO and said he was looking forward to collaborating with sole CEO Nick Khan and the board to "maximize value for all WWE shareholders." WWE is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange with the appropriate ticker symbol "WWE."

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While WWE still operates as a public company, it was announced in April 2023 that it would be acquired by Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., which is the parent company of UFC. After acquiring IMG, Endeavor has become a global leader in sports, events, media, and fashion.

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Endeavor reportedly agreed to buy WWE at a $9.3 billion valuation. Once merged, the blockbuster deal will give Endeavor a $21 billion powerhouse to manage.

According to CNBC, Endeavor will maintain a 51 percent stake in the new company, and WWE shareholders will get the remaining 49 percent.

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