The possibility of Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund seemed so likely that the rumor of a done deal caught fire incredibly quickly.
With Dave Meltzer previously reporting that meetings had taken place with at least two interested parties and that Saudi Arabia was “still in the hunt”, further clarity has been brought to the possibility of a sale to Saudi Arabia.
In the current Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required), Meltzer stated:
“Those at WWE said that Saudi Arabia was in the running but not the favorite.”
In recent days, Tony and Shahid Khan have emerged as potential buyers, as reported by Barrons, the sister publication of the Wall Street Journal.
Both are owners of AEW, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the soccer club Fulham FC.
CNBC also reported that the Khans were interested in a WWE/AEW merger and were open to discussing a role for Vince McMahon.
Tony Khan recently said in an interview that he was following news about a WWE sale “very closely”.
Nick Khan held talks with executives from Disney and ESPN a few days ago.
WWE recently confirmed that outside advisors had been retained by the company “in connection with a review of strategic alternatives to maximize value for all WWE stockholders and other stakeholders.”
The story of WWE being sold to Saudi Arabia exploded a couple of days ago, but the general current sentiment is there’s nothing official yet, but it could very well be a ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’ situation in the sense that the Saudis are at least one of the major options.
Steven Muehlhausen of DAZN initially tweeted on January 10:
Sources: #WWE has been sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
The company will go back to being private.
Unknown if Vince McMahon will return to head of creative but it is expected by some people.
However, a short time later, Cassidy Haynes of Bodyslam reported the following, which Muehlhausen said he’d also heard:
The deal isn’t completely finalized because WWE must provide notice to shareholders & other parties.
There are legalities to go through, as the company is publicly traded.
But, again, I’m told a deal has been agreed to in principle.
On January 11, multiple outlets, including TMZ and Ariel Helwani, reported that a deal was not finalized.
On January 6, using his power as majority owner, Vince McMahon put himself and former WWE presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson back on the company’s Board of Directors, disposing of JoEllen Lyons Dillon, Jeffrey R Speed, and Alan M Wexler in the process.
McMahon had stated that his intention was to facilitate a sale of the company.
He changed bylaws to ensure that no sale or media rights deal could be completed without his approval.
Upon McMahon’s return, two further Board members resigned of their own volition, those being Man Jit Singh – who was the one heading up the Board’s investigation into McMahon – and Ignace Lahoud.
Stephanie McMahon then resigned from her role as co-CEO and Chairwoman and her position on the Board on January 10, as Vince McMahon was elected Executive Chairman.
There has been much speculation that Vince McMahon was looking to sell to a party that would commit to keeping him in charge of the company despite the multiple sexual assault allegations that have surfaced in the past year that led to his initial ‘retirement’ in July.
It’s important to make clear that there has not been an official announcement regarding a sale to Saudi Arabia yet, so we’ll obviously keep you updated so keep an eye on the homepage and Twitter for anything else that breaks.
We will provide more updates on the situation as they become available.
You can keep up with all the latest news and updates on a potential WWE sale by clicking here.
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