Vince McMahon back at WWE ahead of media rights negotiations
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STAMFORD, Conn. — Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who remains the wrestling organization’s controlling shareholder, plans to return to the company to “take full advantage” of upcoming media rights negotiations, he announced Thursday.
McMahon, 77, retired in the summer after being accused of sexual misconduct, which included payments for non-disclosure agreements. Although McMahon used personal funds for the NDA payments, he failed to record those expenses, which totaled $19.6 million.
After McMahon resigned, his daughter Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan, a longtime agent at CAA, took on the role of co-CEO. In his announcement, Vince McMahon said he is seeking reinstatement as CEO of the publicly traded company, along with the chairmanships for former WWE co-presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios.
The moves would require three existing members to vacate their board seats. The board previously rejected an attempt by McMahon to return to the company, but he retains a majority of voting rights.
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“WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history as upcoming media rights negotiations coincide with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events, and more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms,” said McMahon.
He added, “My return will allow WWE, as well as all transaction counterparties, to participate in these processes knowing that they will have the support of the controlling shareholder.”
WWE’s Fox and US Rights Deals Expire Next Year; negotiations are scheduled to begin later in 2023. WWE recorded its first billion-dollar year in sales in 2022. McMahon bought the company from his father in 1982 and built what was then WWF into the preeminent wrestling company in the world.
When McMahon stepped down, his son-in-law, WWE Hall of Famer Paul “Triple H” Levesque, replaced him as the creative director of the company’s TV storylines.
“WWE has an exceptional management team,” McMahon said, “and I don’t intend my return to have any impact on their roles, duties or responsibilities.”
Before giving the board his written approval of his plans, McMahon sent two letters in late December expressing the urgency of his return, the press release said.
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