Fulham owners ‘interested in buying WWE’ as Vince McMahon looks to sell company
Fulham's owners could be set to takeover the WWE as wrestling supremo Vince McMahon looks to sell the company.
The Khan family, led by Fulham chairman Shahid, own WWE's biggest rivals, All Elite Wrestling (AEW), and are reportedly keen on merging the two companies together. McMahon, 77, is ready to sell WWE after a 40-year reign and has recently returned to the board of the organisation to assist with a sale.
His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, stepped down from her role as co-CEO and chairwoman on Thursday as her father resumed his position as chairman, after Vince resigned from the post in July over allegations of sexual misconduct. DAZN reported a deal has already been agreed to sell WWE to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), who own Newcastle United.
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However, it appears that may not be the case just yet. According to CNBC, the Khans are interested in holding talks with McMahon over a potential sale. All Elite Wrestling are a much smaller brand than WWE, however, and the idea of a merger has been described as a 'long shot'.
Talks are yet to begin, but it is possible McMahon may not even entertain the idea of his dominant WWE joining forces with AEW. WWE previously bought out its biggest rivals WCW back in 2001, which spawned a new era in the franchise's history and confirmed WWE's position as the global wrestling brand.
The Khans are keen to add WWE to their growing portfolio of sports investments. Alongside Fulham and AEW, they also own NFL outfit the Jacksonville Jaguars. Shahid Khan has an estimated fortune of around $7.5billion (£6.15bn).
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WWE's share price has rocketed by 30% this year and is valued at roughly $6.6bn. The company has made $1.28bn in the last year alone. By contrast, AEW was hopeful of passing the £100million mark in revenue for last year.
Among AEW's big-name athletes include former WWE stars CM Punk and Chris Jericho. It is unclear whether McMahon would want a role of his own in the new company should a merger take place. McMahon has been the creative force behind many of the characters and story plots in WWE down the years.
He left the WWE in July after announcing his retirement, which came following allegations he had sexual relationships with WWE athletes and paid hush-money settlement fees totalling $12m (£10m) to keep the affairs from becoming public knowledge. WWE announced they had spent $19.4m (£16.2m) on costs for their investigation into the allegations, which concluded in November.
WWE have appointed Raine Group to help with the sale – the same financial advisors who recently oversaw the sale of Chelsea Football Club. WWE have chosen now to consider a sale ahead of the renewal of its TV rights next year.
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