Technical Knockout? Merged UFC-WWE To Be Called TKO Group Holdings
The new, publicly traded company to be created by the planned merger of UFC and WWE will be called TKO Group Holdings, a reference to “technical knockout” in fighting sports. Wrestling also has a “total knock out” move.
Sources close to Endeavor confirmed the name. It’s not a huge surprise, the previously announced ticker symbol is TKO. The company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Endeavor and WWE announced the deal in early April. It calls for Ari Emanuel, chief executive of UFC parent Endeavor, to be CEO of the merged entity and for Vince McMahon, WWE’s controlling shareholder and longtime chief, to serve as executive chairman.
WWE CEO Nick Khan and UFC chief Dana White will serve as presidents of, respectively, WWE and UFC.
The WWE professional wrestling circuit has proven one of the most reliable ratings draws in an era of fragmentation, and is now going to be under the same roof as mixed martial arts outfit UFC, a potent draw among young male fans.
Endeavor will own 51% of TKO Group, WWE shareholders will hold the remaining 49%.
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” Emanuel said announcing the deal. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”
The deal, which needs a sign-off from regulators, is expected to close in the second half.
CNBC first disclosed the company name.
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