Class action lawsuit filed against WWE for misleading claims leading to stock price drop

WWE in a class action lawsuit

The law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman and Dowd have filed a class action lawsuit against WWE.

The complaint, filed on behalf of an institutional investor seeking to represent purchasers of WWE Class A common stock from February 2019 to February 2020, contends that WWE has made misleading and false statements to investors and failed to disclose adverse information regarding WWE’s business and operations.

Among the claims the firm is making is the failure to disclose that WWE was experiencing tension with the Saudi government and a breakdown in negotiations in a broadcast distribution deal, the Saudi government had not made tens of millions of dollars worth of payments owed to WWE, and that OSN (a Saudi-controlled broadcast provider) had dropped WWE programming in 2019 despite a contractual obligation to continue showing the programming.

The lawsuit also presents claims that the escalating tension led to the feed of WWE Crown Jewel in October 2019 being cut. It also claims that several WWE wrestlers were held in a “hostage-like situation” following the event. WWE released a statement to combat those rumors on November 1, 2019 that a mechanical problem with their airplane had led to the delay.

Shortly after the Saudi Arabian travel woes, WWE announced a partnership expansion with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority through 2027, including having a guaranteed two shows a year there.

Claims are also made that the departures of George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, two of their longest serving executives, and the disappointing 2019 Q4 numbers took the Class Period high of $100 to $40.24 in February 2020.

You can view the full lawsuit below:

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Suit Against World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP (https://www.rgrdlaw.com/cases-wwe-class-action-lawsuit.html) today announced that it filed a class action on behalf of an institutional investor seeking to represent purchasers of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (“WWE”) (NYSE:WWE) Class A common stock during the period between February 7, 2019 and February 5, 2020 (the “Class Period”). This action was filed in the Southern District of New York and is captioned City of Warren Police and Fire Ret. Sys. v. World Wrestling Entm’t, Inc., et al., No. 20-cv-02031.

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 permits any investor who purchased WWE Class A common stock during the Class Period to seek appointment as lead plaintiff in the World Wrestling Entm’t securities class action lawsuit. A lead plaintiff acts on behalf of all other class members in directing the World Wrestling Entm’t securities class action lawsuit. The lead plaintiff can select a law firm of its choice to litigate the World Wrestling Entm’t securities class action lawsuit. An investor’s ability to share in any potential future recovery of the World Wrestling Entm’t securities class action lawsuit is not dependent upon serving as lead plaintiff. If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff in the World Wrestling Entm’t securities class action lawsuit, you must move the Court no later than 60 days from today. If you wish to discuss the World Wrestling Entm’t securities class action lawsuit or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff’s counsel, Brian E. Cochran of Robbins Geller at 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, or via e-mail at bcochran@rgrdlaw.com. You can view a copy of the complaint as filed at https://www.rgrdlaw.com/cases-wwe-class-action-lawsuit.html.

The World Wrestling Entm’t securities class action lawsuit charges WWE and certain of its senior executives with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. WWE is an integrated media and entertainment company primarily known for its scripted professional wrestling shows. In recent years, WWE has entered into important strategic relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including a multi-year television distribution rights agreement with the Orbit Showcase Network (“OSN”), a Saudi-controlled direct broadcast satellite provider, and a 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority to host live events in Saudi Arabia.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding WWE’s business and operations. Specifically, defendants failed to disclose that WWE was experiencing rising tension with the Saudi government and a breakdown in negotiations over a renewed broadcasting distribution deal; that the Saudi government and its affiliates had failed to make millions of dollars in payments owed to WWE pursuant to existing contractual commitments between the parties; that OSN had terminated the broadcast of WWE programming in the first quarter of 2019, despite a contractual obligation to continue such broadcasts, and that this cancellation was symptomatic of a deterioration in the business relationship between the parties; that OSN had rebuffed efforts to renew a distribution rights agreement on terms acceptable to WWE; and that WWE did not have the ability to expand its operations in the Middle East or within Saudi Arabia as had been represented to investors.

The problems with WWE’s relationship with the Saudis began to be revealed in a series of partial disclosures. On April 25, 2019, the Company disclosed disappointing financial results and fiscal guidance, which several analysts connected to potential hiccups in the Company’s dealings with the Saudis. On October 31, 2019, in connection with the release of the Company’s third quarter 2019 financial results, WWE revealed significant underperformance across key metrics and revealed that the media rights deal had been indefinitely delayed. Around this same time, it was reported that the Saudi government had withheld tens of millions of dollars in payments owed to WWE. The dispute continued to escalate, culminating in a decision by WWE to cut a broadcasting feed of a live event held in the country. In retaliation, the Saudi government temporarily refused to allow several WWE wrestlers to leave the country in what was later described as akin to a “hostage situation” under the pretense of mechanical airplane issues.

Then, on January 30, 2020, WWE revealed that two of its longest serving senior executives – defendants George A. Barrios and Michelle D. Wilson – had been ousted. Shortly thereafter, on February 6, 2020, WWE again disclosed disappointing financial performance due to its failure to secure a favorable broadcasting deal with the Saudis and revealed that the Saudi media rights deal would not be included in the Company’s financial forecasting. As a result of these disclosures, the price of WWE Class A common stock plummeted from a Class Period high of more than $100 per share to as low as $40.24 per share on February 6, 2020, representing a 60% share price decline.

The plaintiff is represented by Robbins Geller, which has extensive experience in prosecuting investor class actions including actions involving financial fraud.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is one of the world’s leading law firms representing investors in securities litigation. With 200 lawyers in 9 offices, Robbins Geller has obtained many of the largest securities class action recoveries in history. For six consecutive years, ISS Securities Class Action Services has ranked the Firm in its annual SCAS Top 50 Report as one of the top law firms in the world in both amount recovered for shareholders and total number of class action settlements. Robbins Geller attorneys have helped shape the securities laws and have recovered tens of billions of dollars on behalf of aggrieved victims. Beyond securing financial recoveries for defrauded investors, Robbins Geller also specializes in implementing corporate governance reforms, helping to improve the financial markets for investors worldwide. Robbins Geller attorneys are consistently recognized by courts, professional organizations and the media as leading lawyers in the industry. Please visit http://www.rgrdlaw.com for more information.

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