Well, that didn’t take long.
WWE Schedule 13D filing with US Securities & Exchange this morning (January 6) is officially executing the first stages of Vince McMahon’s comeback plan outlined in his press release yesterday.
You can read the entire submission here. Main meals include:
- Effective immediately, Vince McMahon, Michelle Wilson and George Barrios are members of the WWE Board of Directors.
- They will replace independent directors (board members who do not work for WWE in any other capacity) Alan Wexler, JoEllen Lyons Dillon, and Jeffrey Speed.
- He changes the company’s bylaws so that no media rights deals or sale of the company can be executed without Vince’s approval.
Additions to the filing include correspondence between Vince’s team and the board from December 2022, in which he indicated his intention to return and was denied. These back up the data and reports from yesterday, too. McMahon has argued that his participation is necessary to maximize shareholder value from pending or potential transactions on television/broadcast or direct sales. The board countered that being an active member of the organization brought too much risk in the form of a government investigation and legal liability via the silent money scandal that led to his resignation last summer.
One of the board’s responses suggests there’s more to that scandal, too:
This design [to not offer McMahon his requested Board seat] It is based on a variety of factors, including non-public information that the board has become aware of and the risks to the company and its shareholders of shedding more light on these issues.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that there could be additional stories of Vince’s sexual misconduct and/or improperly recorded payments to keep that behavior quiet. But like this pro wrestling version Succession It is remarkable to see it spelled out in a legal document.
And as for that comparison to the popular HBO drama about the battles for control of a (dysfunctional) family-owned media and entertainment giant? If you were wondering who Vince knocked off the board to make way for his return (and Barrios & Wilson, and Frank & Gerri to Logan):
- Spade is a former Disney CEO and CEO of Six Flags who has been on the WWE Board of Directors since 2006. He appears to have a prominent oversight role on the Board, as Chairman of the Audit Committee, and as a member of the Nominating/Governance Committee.
- Wexler is a General Motors executive who was appointed to the WWE Board in 2018.
- Dillon is one of two women appointed to the board of directors just months ago. At the time, WWE touted its legal background, global business experience, and M&A expertise.