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Reports of Saudis buying WWE described as “false” and “absolutely untrue”


Last night and into this morning (January 10-11), wrestling Twitter was doomed to an inevitability like few people have crashed before. Several scoops posted a bulging eye emoji and some variation on “big news is imminent,” followed by a little quote that WWE has been sold to the Saudi Public Investment Fund and will be a private company again.

It seems almost too crazy to be true, and yet it makes perfect sense at the same time. Vince McMahon is in the process of getting his company back after spending nearly six months on the sidelines to ensure that his various constituents didn’t care too much about the various allegations of sexual misconduct against him, and the off-the-cuff payments he made to women making those allegations. The company’s co-CEO and his daughter have just resigned because he was voted chairman of the board he’s already reconfigured in the first phase of his comeback plan.

Whether Stephanie McMahon’s exit was because of the reason stated in the press releases (she only returned to the company when it was in crisis. Now that its true leader, her father, is back on sabbatical), it was her punishment for a failed coup, or because the Saudis didn’t want to own a company with a female CEO. …fit the selling story.

The stated reason for Vince’s return is to ensure shareholder revenue is maximized in the sale, and it was easy to imagine Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and his cronies offering much more than WWE’s current share price (some pundits reporting on the sale claimed they had heard the Saudis were overpaying ). Private equity could also achieve what are believed to be McMahon’s unspoken goals: allowing him to take over all of his old jobs, including creative, and removing or reducing the amount of oversight he has to deal with while running a company with scandal still looming.

The problem is? As Jonathan Frakes said, Not this time – it’s wrong.

Sean Ross Sapp from Fightful He tweeted about the rumors and spoke about them on a podcast, but was among the first to say that he couldn’t confirm the reports and that “there could be a real, real possibility that nothing happened.”

This morning, several other people are on record to say the possibility of SRS happening is the truth:

None of this is to say that the people who reported the sale last night were completely making the story up. Many analysts have mentioned the Saudi Public Investment Fund in their lists of potential buyers. It’s possible that WWE and Saudi Arabia are in constant dialogue thanks to their current relationship, and the sale is likely to have played out in those conversations. Negotiations on deals the size of this one are a roller coaster ride. It may be that someone prematurely leaked that a deal was made to gauge a reaction, or for whatever other reason people go to the media anonymously.

Nor does it mean that it won’t eventually happen. Most people who pump the brakes include caveats like “at this time.” Some, Like Cassidy Hines from bodyslam.netThey keep saying “a deal has been agreed in principle” between WWE and the Saudis, but the process of getting that deal approved is still a long one.

we will see. It’s definitely going to be an interesting year for professional wrestling, one that has the potential to radically change the business from every perspective. But for the next few hours at least, you’ll likely be safe to turn off scrolling.




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