Rumors Swirl That WWE Has Been Sold to Saudi Arabian Company ...
TMZ Sports confirmed late Wednesday afternoon that the rumors circulating about the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund having already completed a purchase of the WWE are false.
Sportscaster Jon Alba said on Twitter that he was told by a "high-ranking WWE source" that reports about the sale being finalized are "completely false."
WWE has not officially made a statement.
Original story below.
The world of the WWE this week has proven to be more chaotic than a Friday Night SmackDown show as rumors swirl that the company may soon be (or secretly has been) sold to a Saudi Arabian company amid the departure of current Co-CEO and Chairwoman Stephanie McMahon.
Earlier this week, it was announced that former CEO Vince McMahon would be making a comeback to rejoin the WWE board alongside former co-presidents and directors Michelle Wilson and George Barrios, meaning that two people currently on the board would have to exit in order for this to happen.
McMahon had indicated in a statement to ESPN that he is eyeing a sale of the company, as he is the majority shareholder.
The first domino to fall? His own daughter, Stephanie McMahon, who had been serving as co-CEO alongside Kick Kahn since her father's July 2022 retirement.
McMahon wrote on social media that she would be leaving her role as chairwoman and co-CEO on Tuesday, noting that upon her departure she is "confident WWE is in the perfect place to continue to provide unparalleled creative content and drive maximum value for shareholders."
Then. Now. Forever. Together. pic.twitter.com/8dqr5reIiv— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) January 10, 2023
Soon after she penned her goodbye, Twitter went wild with rumblings that McMahon had planned to sell the company to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which would make the company private, per reports from Deadspin and wrestling outlet BodySlam.net.
A report earlier this week from Front Office Sports claimed that the PIF had been eyeing a purchase of the WWE, with some "sources" even seeming to indicate that the deal was already done.
For what it's worth, I'm told the Saudi deal is done and they're taking the company private.— Cassidy Haynes of Bodyslam.net (@Casshooole) January 11, 2023
Honestly im just waiting for some big news outlets to just report the news if WWE got sold instead of believing these wrestling journalists.— Advil Lasagna (@Nobodyspecific9) January 11, 2023
This screams "WWE has been sold to Saudi but they want/need to announce it on their own terms so everyone dispute the report"— Big Steps (@BlGSTEPS) January 11, 2023
WWE has had programming in Saudi Arabia since 2014 and started televising special events there in 2018 through its partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.
The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund is also the same company that owns the LIV Golf league.
If the deal between the PIF and the WWE were to go through, it would raise questions about certain facets of the WWE league — namely the Women's Wrestling department and the country's laws about what women are permitted to wear in public.
Neither the WWE nor its executives had publicly confirmed or denied the rumors as of Wednesday afternoon.