Remember when Vince McMahon was so rich he decided to give away money every week for no reason? Remember when he and Donald Trump had the “Battle Of The Billionaires?” Yeah, if WWE’s stock keeps going the way it’s gone since Thursday get ready for the BATTLE OF THE HUNDREDAIRES. Vince McMahon vs. … uh, me?
Here’s the quick version: WWE finally had a chance to renew their television rights after years of saying they were gonna double them. Everyone bought stock. Turns out WWE’s new deal with NBCUniversal only increased their percentage by a quarter — half of what they were asking/bragging for — and whoops, folks didn’t like that. Via Forbes:
“We estimate management negotiated a +50% increase on the Company’s domestic TV rights Fees with NBCUniversal, meaningfully below the guided multiple of 2X to 3X,” wrote Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey in a note Friday morning. Quoting Hulk Hogan – ”To all my little Hulkamaniacs, say your prayers, take your vitamins and you will never go wrong” — Hickey downgraded WWE’s rating from a buy to a hold and cut its price target from $29.12 to $19.96.
“The company’s valuation could take a heavy beating this morning, as the new domestic TV deal with NBCU likely disappointed investors over limited visibility and believability on the ultimate success of the network,” Hickey said.
On top of the underwhelming TV deal, WWE needs 1.3-1.4 million subscribers to the WWE Network and so far has only brought in about 670,000. Jerks like me signed up the second it was available, yeah, but how do you get average, non-wrestling-obsessive people interested in old Great American Bash pay-per-views? So far the Network’s big plays have been “a reality show about old wrestlers” and “recommend this to your friends and we’ll give you gift cards.”
So what does this mean for you, the person who watches wrestling but doesn’t necessarily care about the stock market? To put it in very visible wrestling character terms:
The stock’s losses have also had a body-blow impact to Vince McMahon’s personal wealth: according to the FORBES real time wealth tracker, McMahon has lost $357 million, nearly a third of his fortune, since Thursday’s closing bell.
In the words of the chairman himself: