Partner and analyst for LightShed, Brandon Ross, spoke with Brandon Thurston and Jesse Collings of Wrestlenomics about WWE business following the exit of Vince McMahon amid the investigations into a series of hush money payments McMahon made to former female employees, alleging harassment, misconduct, and abuse at the hands of McMahon and former-Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis.
During the interview, Ross spoke about the possibility of Endeavor buying WWE. Endeavor is an American holding company for talent and media agencies. The company was founded in April 2009 after the merger of the William Morris Agency and the original Endeavor Talent Agency. In 2016, the company acquired UFC.
“I think this actually syncs with the conversation we were just having,” Ross said. “If you look at the UFC acquisition and how that was handled. They allowed Dana and UFC to kind of run as their own separate entity while leveraging all the infrastructure of Endeavor to help make them better and unlock revenue opportunities. I think a really good example of that is on the sponsorship side. We all know that WWE has really been under-monetized from a sponsorship perspective for a long time. If you look at it like, where does the profitability of this business come from? It’s on those kinds of rights deals. Nick [Khan] is amazing at that as we all know. His history with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) and the involvement that he’s had in the past on this. But Ari Emanuel is certainly no slouch, and the idea of teaming those two, you basically have a dream team kind of approaching all these negotiations as well.”
Ross went into how WWE co-CEO Nick Khan has a good relationship with Endeavor that stems back from when Khan was a CAA agent.
“There is a relationship between Nick and Endeavor management,” Ross said. “That goes way back to the beginning of Nick’s career as an agent actually.”
Ross also noted that CAA isn’t looking at the WWE right now, but it’s not a “stupid idea” for them to be interested in the company. CAA is an American talent and sports agency based in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1975.
“I don’t think that’s kind of like where they’re [CAA] looking right now,” Ross said. “Endeavor obviously has public currency, and part of the compensation for the deal would be stock. Knowing what the stock is worth and having a public mark on it is kind of generally a big deal. I don’t think it’s a stupid idea, especially as CAA recently bulked up. But you also don’t get those synergies between UFC, on the infrastructure side, and WWE that you would get with the existing business sitting there and frankly, other live entertainment businesses there.
The full interview is available here.
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