Press Release

Kirkland & Ellis Advises on WWE and UFC Combination to Form a $21+ Billion Global Live Sports and Entertainment Company

Kirkland represented Vincent McMahon, controlling stockholder of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE), in leading WWE through a review of its strategic alternatives and in the resulting definitive agreement, announced today, with Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EDR) to form a new, publicly listed company consisting of two iconic, complementary, global sports and entertainment brands: WWE and UFC. Upon close, Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest and existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49% interest in the new company. Shareholders of the new company (other than Endeavor) are also expected to receive a post-closing cash dividend.

Together, UFC and WWE will have global reach, impressive scale and omnichannel distribution. On a combined 2022 fiscal year-end basis, UFC and WWE achieved revenue of $2.4 billion and a 10% annual revenue growth rate since 2019. The transaction values the combined businesses at a combined enterprise value of $21.4 billion and WWE at an enterprise value of $9.3 billion. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Endeavor and by the Board of Directors of WWE. The deal is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals. 

Read more in the joint WWE and Endeavor press release

The Kirkland team was led by corporate partners Edward J. Lee, Jonathan Davis and Chelsea Darnell, along with corporate partner Shaun Mathew and associates Jimin He, Evan Johnson, Sumer Marquette, Arjun Karthikeyan and Alex Adamis; tax partners Dean Shulman and Vivek Ratnam; litigation partners Sandra Goldstein, Stefan Atkinson and Haley Stern; executive compensation partners Scott Price and Jack Stratton and associate Katherine Nemeth; antitrust and competition partners Andrea Murino, Matthew Wheatley and Paula Riedel, and associates Jack Coles, Jean Hyun and Lucy Mahon; capital markets partners Joshua Korff and Jennifer Lee; debt finance partners Michelle Kilkenney and Carolyn Aiken and associate Claire Rokita; technology and IP transactions partners Seth Traxler, Matthew Lovell and Jeffrey Seroogy, and associates Bijan Motiwalla and Ben Kovach.

Kirkland’s work with Mr. McMahon and WWE was first announced in January 2023 in connection with actions in support of a plan for WWE to undertake a review of strategic alternatives.