Vince McMahon's retirement could ignite WWE sale talk
Vince McMahon's abrupt retirement as WWE's chief executive could reignite sale talks under newly installed co-CEO Nick Khan.
Why it matters: Speculation of a potential sale for the global wrestling outfit has swirled ever since Khan joined as president in 2020. Now he runs the $5 billion company alongside Vince's daughter, Stephanie.
Driving the news: McMahon shocked the WWE world on Friday when he announced he would retire as chairman and CEO amid an investigation into his behavior that included sexual misconduct.
- McMahon had voluntarily stepped back from his duties as CEO last month.
The intrigue: Khan's hiring in 2020 immediately raised questions about whether or not it meant WWE would eventually sell.
- Khan is no stranger to dealmaking. He joined after eight years at CAA, where he was co-head of the TV department. He represented WWE in its media rights talks, including the move of the "Smackdown" franchise from NBCUniversal to Fox.
- Upon joining, Khan and McMahon oversaw a near-total remake of the WWE's media division and began to pursue different types of media deals.
- One big example: Last year, Khan helped land a $1 billion streaming deal with Peacock that made the NBCU-owned streaming service the exclusive home for its own streaming service, WWE Network.
- Earlier this year, Khan admitted WWE had fielded calls from prospective buyers, though he added there were no active sale talks and that they were not actively looking for a buyer.
Yes, but: No deal happens without the blessing of Vince McMahon, 76.
- McMahon owns 92% of the WWE’s Class B common stock, which has 10 votes for every share.
- "As the majority shareholder, I will continue to support WWE in any way I can," he said in a statement Friday.
What's next: WWE will report its second-quarter earnings sometime next month.