Did WWE sell to Disney? The answer may surprise you.
The History of WWE
In 1963, Vince McMahon Sr. founded World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation. The company was a regional wrestling promotion that held events in the Northeastern United States. McMahon Sr. sold the company to his son, Vince McMahon Jr., in 1982. The McMahons have been in control of WWE ever since. In 2001, WWE launched the WWE Network, a streaming service that offers on-demand and live content.
WWE’s humble beginnings
WWE’s humble beginnings can be traced back to the late 1800s, when professional wrestling was a popular form of entertainment in the United States. The first professional wrestling match was held in New York City in 1887, and by the early 1900s, there were dozens of professional wrestlers touring the country.
In 1952, entrepreneur Vince McMahon Sr. founded the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, which promoted professional wrestling matches in the northeastern United States. In 1963, McMahon Sr. partnered with Jess McMahon (no relation) to create the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), which became one of the most popular professional wrestling promotions in the world.
In 1979, Vince McMahon Jr. took over his father’s company and renamed it World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Under McMahon Jr.’s leadership, WWE became a global media empire, with its flagship program, “Monday Night Raw,” becoming one of the most popular shows on cable television. WWE also launched successful pay-per-view events, such as WrestleMania, and cultivated a roster of larger-than-life personalities, such as Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
In 2001, WWE launched its own cable network, WWE Network, which features a mix of original programming and classic footage from WWE’s archives. In 2014, WWE announced that it had signed a multi-year deal with NBCUniversal to air its programming on NBCUniversal’s cable networks, including USA Network and Syfy.
In 2018, Comcast announced that it was acquiring 21st Century Fox for $71 billion. As part of the deal, Fox’s stake in WWE would be acquired by Comcast’s subsidiary NBCUniversal.
WWE’s rise to prominence
WWE’s rise to prominence began in the early 1980s when it was promoted as a regional promotion in the northeastern United States. Vincent K. McMahon, the company’s founder and Chairman, began to promote bigger and more controversial shows, which led to the company’s expansion into other markets. In 1985, McMahon took the company public, making it the first publicly traded wrestling company in the United States. By the early 1990s, WWE was a nationally known brand and one of the most popular forms of entertainment.
In 2000, WWE merged with Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie McMahon’s company Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), which helped fuel WWE’s growth even further. In 2001, WCW was also purchased by WWE, making WWE the largest professional wrestling company in the world. In recent years, WWE has continued to grow its global reach through its partnerships with international promotions such as New Japan Pro Wrestling and PROGRESS Wrestling.
Earlier this year, it was rumored that WWE was looking to sell their company to Disney.
Why WWE might sell
In recent years, the WWE has come under pressure from its shareholders to sell the company. The main reason for this is that the WWE’s share price has been stagnant for years, while its main competitors – such as UFC and AEW – have seen their values soar.
The WWE has also been facing declining ratings, with its flagship show Monday Night Raw consistently losing viewers throughout 2019. This has led to speculation that the company is no longer as attractive to potential buyers as it once was.
What WWE would be worth
The market value of WWE has been on a roller coaster ride over the past few years. In 2014, the company was valued at $1.8 billion. However, by early 2017, that number had jumped to $3.1 billion. Currently, WWE is once again worth around $1.8 billion.
If WWE were to be sold today, it would likely go for a price between $2 and $3 billion. This would be a significant return on investment for Vince McMahon, who owns approximately 70% of the company.
Interestingly, if WWE were to be sold to Disney, it would likely go for a much higher price. This is because Disney has a history of paying top dollar for companies that fit its brand. For example, in 2006, Disney paid $7.4 billion for Pixar Animation Studios.
The WWE has been a family entertainment staple for over five decades. In that time, it has transcended its humble beginnings as a regional wrestling promotion to become a global multimedia juggernaut. From its flagship program, Monday Night Raw, to its reality television shows and feature films, the WWE has cemented itself as a pop culture behemoth. So when it was announced that the WWE had been sold to Disney, it sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment world.
Why WWE won’t sell
There are a variety of reasons WWE won’t sell to Disney or anyone else, but the overall theme is that Vince McMahon is not interested in cashing out.
WWE is a publicly traded company, so if McMahon wanted to sell, he could simply do so by selling his shares on the open market. However, as of this writing, McMahon owns approximately 52% of WWE’s Class A common stock and 36% of its Class B common stock, giving him control of the company.
McMahon has been quoted as saying that he has no intention of ever selling WWE, and there’s no reason to believe he’s bluffing. He’s 71 years old at this point and shows no signs of slowing down; in fact, he recently signed a new 10-year contract with WWE.
It’s also worth noting that WWE has been through this before. In 2001, there was talk of Disney buying the company, but nothing ever came of it. More recently, there have been rumors that Comcast (the parent company of NBC Universal) was interested in acquiring WWE. Again, nothing ever materialized.
So while it’s always fun to speculate about WWE being sold to a major media conglomerate, the reality is that it’s not going to happen. Vince McMahon is content with running WWE as a publicly traded company, and he shows no signs of changing his mind anytime soon.
What WWE is worth
As a result, it’s difficult to place an exact monetary value on WWE. However, we can attempt to ballpark it using a few different methods.
WWE’s market capitalization — the current value of all its outstanding shares — is $3.4 billion. That means that if you bought every single share of WWE stock on the open market today, it would cost you roughly $3.4 billion.
Another way to value a company is by looking at its enterprise value, which takes into account both the market capitalization and the value of any debt that the company has on its balance sheet. For WWE, the enterprise value is $5.2 billion.
WWE’s revenue for 2018 came in at $265 million, while its operating income was $52 million. And its net income — which includes items like interest and taxes — was $32 million for the year.
On October 28th, 2009, The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. This was a monumental deal, as it brought together two of the biggest names in entertainment. More importantly, it signified a change in the landscape of the entertainment industry, as it showed that the big players were willing to shell out big bucks for the right property. What does this mean for WWE?
What WWE needs to do to stay relevant
In recent years, WWE has struggled to remain relevant in the ever-changing world of entertainment. In order to stay afloat, WWE needs to make some serious changes. Here are a few things WWE could do to stay relevant:
1. Make social media a priority: In today’s world, social media is one of the most important tools for promoting anything and everything. Unfortunately, WWE has been lagging behind in this area. Other companies, such as AEW, have been using social media to their advantage and it’s time for WWE to do the same.
2. Connect with a younger audience: A lot of WWE’s current audience is made up of older fans who have been with the company for many years. While there’s nothing wrong with this, WWE needs to start connecting with a younger audience if it wants to remain relevant. This can be done by featuring more young talent on television and promoting its product through platforms that are popular with younger demographics, such as Snapchat and Instagram.
3. Be more open-minded: Over the years, WWE has been known for being very close-minded when it comes to new ideas and change. If WWE wants to stay relevant, it needs to start being more open-minded to new concepts and styles of wrestling. For example, AEW has been successful in large part due to its willingness to experiment with different match types and storylines. Meanwhile, WWE has stayed largely the same, which is something that has turned off many fans in recent years.
4. Take risks: In order for any company to be successful, it needs to take risks from time to time. Unfortunately, WWE has become far too risk-averse in recent years and this has led to a lot of stagnation within the company. In order for WWE to become relevant again, it needs start taking more risks with its product and trying new things rather than playing it safe all the time
WWE’s place in the entertainment landscape
WWE is one of the most popular entertainment brands in the world, and their place in the entertainment landscape is only going to become more cemented in the years to come.
With WWE’s recent deal with FOX, they have solidified their place as one of the top sports entertainment companies in the world. But WWE is so much more than just a wrestling company, they are a true multimedia juggernaut.
WWE has proven time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to entertainment. They have some of the most passionate fans in the world, and those fans are only going to continue to grow in number. WWE is a brand that is here to stay, and their place in the entertainment landscape is only going to become more evident in the years to come.