This latest bit of WWE news has the company — and the internet — rocked to the core: Vince McMahon, the infamous WWE CEO, has sold more than 1.5 million of his company’s shares in what his representatives are calling an “estate planning” move, which is what’s typically done by the wealthy before they die. Does this mean that he’s no longer the CEO of the company?
Fortune was the first to break this latest bit of WWE News. According to the outlet, the beleaguered McMahon — who has, as of late, been plagued with rumors of being unwell — sold 1.55 million of his shares in the WWE. These sales include Class A (which give him voting rights) and Class B (which is considered “common” stock) stock, and Fortune estimates that he made a grand total of $32.5 million in the sale. Despite the sheer enormity of these numbers, McMahon is still considered the majority shareholder of the company — those figures represent only two percent of what he owns — because he is the company’s majority shareholder, owning 47% of the company stock. Furthermore, according to Fortune, he has no intention of selling any more shares of the company.
The 71-year-old McMahon — who has been with the WWE since the 1980s — is insisting that this bit of WWE news is nothing to be concerned about; it’s merely a regulatory requirement to make the sale of this stock public. Bloomberg explains that, in addition to still owning 47 percent of the company’s stock, McMahon still has 85 percent of the company’s voting rights… meaning that the vast majority of the company’s decisions are still made by him. This should provide some comfort to wrestling fans, who know that McMahon has been recently plagued by the news of his impending demise since he hasn’t been seen ringside or backstage.
In addition, this bit of WWE news has caused some concern amongst investors, because the WWE has also been plagued by news of a takeover, or a buyout, by a corporation. Much of this concern has arisen as a result of the news that the UFC was recently acquired by WME-IMG for the princely sum of $4 billion. This bit of WWE news has been fueled by WWE chief strategy and financial officer George Barrios, who said that this mega-sale is meant to have the end result of growing the company, regardless of who, ultimately, is the owner.
“[Vince is] always listening to anything that we thought could help us you know, execute more successfully, more aggressively in terms of what we’re trying to do and grow the business. So we’re always open to listening.”
But FBN Securities analyist Robert Routh has a different take on the matter, and echoes McMahon’s sentiments that WWE fans have nothing to be concerned about.
“There are some people out there saying that McMahon may consider selling WWE. Everybody has their price, they say, but I don’t believe that Vince is planning to sell anytime soon.”
Finally, in a bit more surprising WWE news, there’s some talk that there may be some openly gay wrestlers introduced by the WWE in the near future. According to Alaska Commons, the introduction of gay wrestlers — and more LGBTQ programming, overall, in the WWE — is one that’s been proposed by Vince McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, who is also the WWE’s chief brand officer.
McMahon said that she’s known of gay people in the WWE for as long as she can remember — from both sides of the turnbuckle — but, as in the case of Pat Patterson, the WWE Intercontinental Champion who recently came out of the proverbial closet, many of them hid who they were for fear of not being accepted by the WWE fans – who are often perceived as behind the times and socially conservative – and because previous storylines showed treatment of homosexuals to be less than stellar (to put it mildly).
“Throughout my life I have grown up knowing gay [WWE] superstars and executives. It’s always been accepted, but now it’s about getting that message out there.”
Do you think that Vince McMahon will sell the WWE? Do you think this bit of WWE news about LGBTQ wrestlers is a good one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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