UFC and WWE to come together under "TKO Group Holdings" name

September 13, 2023: UFC and WWE to come together under “TKO Group Holdings” name

On Tuesday, TKO started trading on the New York Stock Exchange, culminating in a merger of two live entertainment juggernauts announced in April. The combined business is 51% owned by Endeavor Group Holdings, which owns assets including UFC and Hollywood talent agency WME and 49% held by WWE shareholders. Shares climbed 2.8% in midday trading.

The first 18 months of the group’s existence will revolve around integrating UFC and WWE, Mark Shapiro, TKO’s president and chief operating officer, said.

Shapiro stated that that includes eventually going to market together for international media rights and bringing together the group’s production efforts and back offices.

After that, TKO plans to swing into acquisition mode to grow the company, he said.

“We will ultimately be in the marketplace looking for other sports properties that we can bolt onto the flywheel enhanced by Endeavor,” Shapiro said, adding the group has a strong desire to expand internationally.

Endeavor also owns Professional Bull Riders and two tennis tournaments, the Mutua Madrid and Miami Open.

The “flywheel” includes Endeavor’s representation of professional athletes through WME, its expertise in negotiating media rights, product licensing, and enhancing live events to boost venue fees. Shapiro also envisions direct-to-consumer options with TKO that don’t exist yet.

WWE currently streams on NBCUniversal’s Peacock in a deal that concludes in 2026. Shapiro said other streaming entities have already expressed interest in bidding on the rights when that deal expires.

TKO executives will negotiate new media deals for WWE “Raw” and “SmackDown” in the coming months on traditional pay TV. NBCUniversal and Fox currently own those rights.

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