Last year, Vince McMahon abruptly resigned from his longtime role as chairman and CEO of the WWE in the wake of a scandal concerning the hush money he was accused of siphoning from the company while attempting to bury sexual assault allegations that had been levied against him.
However, it didn’t take long for the man who put the company on the map to announce he’d be returning to the organization, as he leveraged his controlling share in the corporation to reinstall himself to its board of directors.
That news broke shortly before a supposed insider claimed Saudi Arabia had dipped into its Public Investment Fund to acquire the WWE. While that rumor was quickly debunked, it did spark plenty of speculation that the 77-year-old McMahon was in search of a buyer—one he tentatively found a few months later.
On Sunday, we learned Endeavor (the parent company of the UFC) had brokered a deal to acquire a majority stake in the WWE, which is reportedly valued at over $9 billion based on the terms of the sale.
The merger still needs to be officially approved, but it may already be facing a hurdle based on a potential legal challenge that emerged shortly after it was announced.
According to Ringside News, the Wisconsin-based law firm Ademi LLP has announced it’s conducting a private investigation of the WWE sale over concerns the agreed-upon price of $106 per share is lower than the company’s actual market value.
The firm issued a press release detailing its primary concerns, which says:
The transaction agreement unreasonably limits competing bids for WWE by imposing a significant penalty if WWE accepts a superior bid. WWE insiders will receive substantial benefits as part of change of control arrangements.
We are investigating the conduct of WWE’s board of directors, and whether they are (i) fulfilling their fiduciary duties to all shareholders, and (ii) obtaining a fair and reasonable price for WWE.
At the end of the day, the WWE and Endeavor probably only need to worry about the FTC stepping in to block the sale.
With that said, this is probably a headache both parties would rather not have to deal with.