Multiple Outlets Report Sale Of WWE To Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund
Several news outlets report that a rumoured Saudi purchase of WWE is a done deal.
Multiple news outlets have reported that a deal in principle has been agreed for WWE to be sold to the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, also known as the Public Investment Fund or PIF. If true, such a sale would reportedly see WWE go private once again, having originally become a publicly traded company in 1999.
u/Kerrmit125, a popular "insider" poster on the r/SquaredCircle subreddit was among the first to break this story. An exclusive report from Cassidy Haynes of Bodyslam.net then stated:
"Sources have told me that World Wrestling Entertainment has sold the company to the Saudi Investment Fund. Vince McMahon was placed back on the board of directors, with many under the belief that Vince was looking to sell the company. Now, that’s become a reality. Not only that, but the public company is now going private under the new ownership."
Haynes tweeted in an update a couple of hours later: "Update, here is what I've put together so far: The deal isn't completely finalized because WWE must provide notice to shareholders & other parties. There are legalities to go through, as the company is publicly traded. But, again, I'm told a deal has been agreed to in principle."
Steve Muehlhausen of DAZN reported similar, writing in a since-deleted tweet: "Sources: #WWE has been sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The company will go back to being private. Unknown if Vince McMahon will return to head of creative but it is expected by some people."
Muehlhausen later concurred with Haynes' tweet about a deal being agreed in principle.
It is worth noting that some major names in wrestling news have not confirmed the story - including Dave Meltzer, Bryan Alvarez and Sean Ross Sapp. The likes of Ariel Helwani, Brandon Thurston, and Jon Alba reported on the afternoon (GMT) of January 11 that the reports of an agreement in principle with the Saudi Arabia PIF are false.
Ariel Helwani tweeted: "Contrary to reports stating otherwise last night, there is no deal in place at this precise moment for WWE to be sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund or any entity, sources say. The organization is still exploring all options, I'm told. Developing."
Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics also stated: "I concur with @RichLightShed. I asked someone at WWE, who would know, who said the story that took hold of Twitter last night, about WWE and Saudi Arabia being near a deal to take the company private, is untrue."
Jon Alba reported on January 11: "Well, finally got something much more firm. A high-ranking #WWE source with knowledge of the situation tells me reports of a sale or agreement to sell at this moment are 'completely false.'"
This all comes in the wake of Vince McMahon's election as Executive Chairman of the Board, and Stephanie McMahon's subsequent resignation from WWE on January 10.