Top news on TKO Group merger between WWE and UFC

As previously reported, the merger between UFC and WWE to become TKO Group Holdings has been finalized.

The stock price of the resulting business (NYSE: TKO) opened at $102 per share, higher than the final close price of WWE at $98.05, before closing for the day at $103.05.

Among those in attendance at the opening bell to represent the group were Vince McMahon, Triple H, Dana White, Ari Emanuel, Nick Khan, and Mark Shapiro, with Bianca Belair and Montez Ford representing WWE at the ceremony.

As part of the merger, WWE executive were reportedly given big bonuses as noted by Fightful: WWE President receives $15 million, EVP Kevin Dunn receives $7 million, and COO Paul Levesque (Triple H) and CFO Frank Riddick each receive $5 million.

Endeavor executives Ari Emanuel and Mark Sharpio spoke on the financial side of the merger while appearing on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, with CEO Ari Emanuel highlighting the cost involved and the reach of WWE and UFC:

“We had a range of 50 to 100 with regard to back office and costs. We’re on our way to kind of doing that. We did that with the UFC. We’re on our way here. There’s also savings as it relates to on the production side because of their production facility, our production facility at the UFC. This is a pure sports play.

There’s nothing more important than sports content and live events. We do 350 live events with production. We have a billion in fanbase. The global reach of both is incredible, and you can’t underestimate the value of TV rights domestically and internationally, and also the sponsorship.”

Shapiro, the President and COO of Endeavor, weighed in on the company’s status as a free cashflow-generating company, noting:

“Both [WWE and UFC] will be a juggernaut in that respect. Free cash flow conversion to TKO will be about 61%, and of course Endeavor will be strong. Remember, when this thing started, we were just about eight times levered. Now we’re below a three, so healthy balance sheet, scale, growth, profitability.”

Source: Fightful