Updates on Disney, Saudi Arabia’s interest

WWE’s attempted sale continues. Reports emerged earlier this week that the pro wrestling promotion had already agreed in principle to a sale to the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, only to be quickly shot down by sources within the company. However, Dave Meltzer of the Observer wrestling now reports that the Saudis are still in the race to buy the company. Companies such as Endeavor (the parent company of the UFC), Amazon, Netflix and Comcast have repeatedly been put forward as potential bidders by financial experts and Meltzer confirmed that one of the companies that has already spoken to WWE CEO Nick Khan is none other than disney.

“They’re not sold. Saudi Arabia is on the hunt. They’re one of the companies looking for them. The names out there are all on the hunt. Nick Khan was in Los Angeles when I was in Los Angeles. [He] went to the football game Monday night so he wasn’t on Raw and met heavy hitters because they were going to the College Football Championship game. Bob Iger, Jimmy Pitaro, so I think those names will ring a bell,” Meltzer said (h/t Cultaholic).

He then discussed WWE’s timeline for a sale: “They want to sell by the middle of the year, JPMorgan is helping them. Saudi Arabia is the only one of the key players as far as they want to go private. The rest are public companies.. “A decision will be made at some point. There is certainly smoke in the Saudi Arabia story, but it is too early to finalize a deal.”

Talks about WWE sales have been circulating for years, but the conversation kicked into high gear when Vince McMahon demanded to be reinstated to the WWE Board of Directors believing that only he could lead those negotiations. The board attempted to reject McMahon’s offer, citing the SEC’s ongoing investigation into his alleged hush money payments and McMahon responded by threatening to halt any future sales negotiations or media rights deals. He has since been reinstated as executive chairman, while more than half of WWE’s board of directors has left or been replaced in the past month, including Vince’s own daughter Stephanie. Stay tuned for more updates.

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