Vince McMahon has started the process of selling WWE with his official return to the company. In an SEC filing Friday morning, McMahon has used his majority voting power due to his ownership of WWE’s Class-B stock to elect himself to WWE’s board of directors, along with former co-presidents and directors Michelle Wilson and George Barrios.
The move comes one day after it was reported from the Wall Street Journal that “unless (McMahon) has direct involvement as executive chairman from the outset of a strategic review, he won’t support or approve any media-rights deal or sale.” The move essentially holds WWE from negotiating television deals for its flagship programs, Raw or Smackdown, as well as his apparent goal of selling the company unless he is directly involved.
McMahon previously sent two separate letters to the Board in late December in which he expressed the urgency of his return to the company as Executive Chairman and his desire to work collaboratively with the Board and management team, he announced via a press release. McMahon determined, “consistent with his rights as controlling shareholder,” that the steps announced are necessary to maximize value for all WWE shareholders after — per the WSJ — a review was reportedly initiated for McMahon’s potential return and it was determined it “wouldn’t be in shareholders’ best interest.”
“WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms,” said McMahon, via a press release on Thursday. “The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives. My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder.”
On the heels of allegations of misconduct, millions of dollars in reported settlements, and investigations into other nondisclosure agreements, the 77-year-old McMahon retired from WWE, handing the reins to the company to his daughter, interim chairwoman and chief executive Stephanie McMahon, and co-executive Nick Khan, the company’s former president and chief revenue officer. There are currently no details on what, if any, impact this return would have on Stephanie McMahon or Khan’s roles.
Vince McMahon has claimed his return to WWE’s board is to oversee the sale of the company only. His quote read: "WWE has an exceptional management team in place & I do not intend for my return to have any impact on their roles, duties, or responsibilities." Let’s hope that’s true pic.twitter.com/MIOYVOxhjr
— Gorilla Position (@WWEGP) January 6, 2023
The news of McMahon’s impending WWE return comes on the heels of new legal demands, per a separate WSJ report, from two women who allege that he sexually assaulted them.