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Showing posts with label Nick Khan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nick Khan. Show all posts

April 16, 2023

Nick Khan Comments On Vince McMahon’s Current Creative Role In WWE

Nick Khan says that Triple H remains WWE‘s sole Chief Content Officer despite Vince McMahon‘s recent involvement.

WWE President Nick Khan recently sat down with LightShed Live to discuss a wide variety of subjects. When asked about Vince McMahon’s current creative role in WWE based on what happened on the RAW following WrestleMania 39, Khan confirmed that Triple H is still the sole Chief Content Officer of WWE. However, he’ll also continue to communicate with Mr. McMahon.

“On Monday [April 3], when this deal was officially announced, Vince sent out a company-wide email to our thousand or so employees, including myself, and in the email, he laid out the structure of the NewCo,” Nick Khan said. “Specifically, he articulated that Paul Levesque remains the sole Chief Creative Officer. Sole. How does that work? Does that mean that technically because I’m in charge of the business side of the business that I don’t seek input from other people?

“I wouldn’t seek input from Vince McMahon; who created this entire empire? That would be a mistake on my behalf. Paul and Vince, a family relationship, a relationship that spans back to the mid-90s. Paul is in charge of creative. If he wants input from Vince or Vince has ideas that he and Paul are going to communicate, that’s always going to be the case. We’re lucky to have Vince.

“We’re lucky to have Paul in control of creative. We’re lucky that the setup that Vince created that the company could continue to exist; even when Vince stepped out for that five-month period, the company kept flowing. We think the best organizations are set up that way, and that’s the way Vince set up WWE.” [H/T: Fightful]

April 3, 2023

Triple H and Nick Khan To Receive Huge Bonus Following WWE Sale

WWE's Nick Khan and Triple H will receive a huge bonus following the news that WWE has been sold to Endeavour.

On Monday, WWE announced a transaction agreement with Endeavor that would see WWE sell to Endeavor and merge with UFC to form a new publicly traded company worth $21.5 billion. Khan will be President of WWE when the two promotions merge, while Triple H is expected to remain Chief Content Executive of WWE.

Triple H and Nick Khan will both receive large bonuses with Triple H taking in $5 million and Khan receiving $15 million.

From the SEC filing:

"In light of their significant contributions to the Company prior to and in connection with the Transactions and to promote retention, the Company, following the approval of the WWE Compensation Committee, entered into bonus letter agreements (each a “Bonus Agreement”), dated as of April 1, 2023 and effective as of April 2, 2023, with certain executive officers including Nick Khan, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank A. Riddick III, the Company’s President & Chief Financial Officer, and Paul Levesque, the Company’s Chief Content Officer. The Bonus Agreements each provide for a cash payment (the “Bonus”) in the event a Sale Transaction (as defined in the Bonus Agreements) is consummated on or before February 28, 2024 (unless such date is extended by the Company’s Board of Directors, in its discretion) (a “Qualifying Sale Transaction”).

For Messrs. Khan and Levesque, the amount of their Bonuses is equal to $15,000,000 and $5,000,000, respectively, with 100% of such amount payable as soon as practicable following the closing date of a Qualifying Sale Transaction, subject to their continuous employment through the closing date (except as otherwise noted below). For Mr. Riddick, the amount of his Bonus is equal to $5,000,000, with 60% of such amount payable as soon as practicable following the closing date of a Qualifying Sale Transaction and 40% of such amount payable as soon as practicable following the six-month anniversary of the closing date of a Qualifying Sale Transaction, subject to his continuous employment through each such date (except as otherwise noted below). In the event any of Messrs. Khan, Riddick and Levesque is terminated by the Company without Cause or resigns for Good Reason (each as defined in the applicable Bonus Agreement) prior to the payment date(s) described above, the unpaid portion of his respective Bonus shall vest and become payable as of the date of termination.

The foregoing description of the Bonus Agreements does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full text of the Bonus Agreements for Messrs. Khan, Riddick and Levesque, copies of which will be filed as exhibits to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2023 and which will be incorporated by reference herein."


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. & STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EDR) (“Endeavor”) and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) (“WWE”) today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to form a new, publicly listed company consisting of two iconic, complementary, global sports and entertainment brands: UFC and WWE. Upon close, Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49% interest in the new company.

Together, UFC and WWE will have global reach, impressive scale and omnichannel distribution. On a combined 2022 fiscal year-end basis, UFC and WWE achieved revenue of $2.4 billion and a 10% annual revenue growth rate since 2019.

“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”

“Given the incredible work that Ari and Endeavor have done to grow the UFC brand – nearly doubling its revenue over the past seven years – and the immense success we’ve already had in partnering with their team on a number of ventures, I believe that this is without a doubt the best outcome for our shareholders and other stakeholders,” said Vincent K. McMahon, Executive Chairman of WWE.

McMahon continued, “Together, we will be a $21+ billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse with a collective fanbase of more than a billion people and an exciting growth opportunity. The new company will be well positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster our strong stable of brands. I, along with the current WWE management team, look forward to working closely with Ari and the Endeavor and UFC teams to take the businesses to the next level.”

The new company will be led by Emanuel (Chief Executive Officer), who will also continue in his role as Chief Executive Officer of Endeavor, McMahon (Executive Chairman of the Board) and Mark Shapiro, who will be President and Chief Operating Officer of both Endeavor and the new company. Dana White will continue in his role as President of UFC and Nick Khan will serve as President of WWE. The Board of Directors will consist of 11 members who will be appointed at a later date, six of whom will be appointed by Endeavor and five of whom by WWE.

March 28, 2023

WWE CEO Nick Khan Comments On WWE Media Rights Negotiations

As rumors and reports continue to surface regarding WWE‘s media rights negotiation and a potential sale, WWE CEO Nick Khan spoke to Sports Business Journal about the company’s position heading into negotiations.

On the topic of the company and its position as it heads into a new round of media rights negotiations, Khan said that he thinks the company is “in a good position” thanks to its ratings and its relevance, Khan also noted that he thinks they could come to a decision toward the middle of the year.

“If you look at the ratings and relevancy of our product, we like to think we’re in a good position,” said Khan. “We look to get into the heat of the conversation first with our incumbents by the middle of the year or so. Depending on the timing and how strategic alternatives shake out, it will be either be middle of the year getting hot and heavy, or some time shortly thereafter.”

When it comes to competing against the likes of NASCAR and the NBA — which will also see its own media rights come up alongside WWE — Khan said that he thinks “there’s plenty of money out there for us.” He also touched on the potential sale of WWE, noting that it might be tricky navigating both a sale of the company as well as new media rights negotiations.

“That’s probably the trickiest of all the parts, but one thing that all potential buyers know is that the rights that Fox and NBCU negotiated for separately will obviously have to be adhered to and respected with all sorts of good faith attached to that,” Khan said.

January 10, 2023

WWE Board of Directors unanimously elected Vince McMahon Executive Chairman of the Board; Stephanie McMahon Resigns

WWE today announced that its Board of Directors unanimously elected Vince McMahon Executive Chairman of the Board.

Stephanie McMahon has resigned from her roles as Chairwoman and Co-CEO.

Nick Khan will serve as WWE CEO.

Vince McMahon:

“First, I’d like to express my full support for Stephanie’s personal decision. I’ll forever be grateful that she offered to step in during my absence and I’m truly proud of the job she did co-leading WWE. Stephanie has always been the ultimate ambassador for our company, and her decades of contributions have left an immeasurable impact on our brand.

“I’m proud to announce that Nick Khan will serve as WWE CEO. Nick’s business acumen and mastery of the media industry have helped catapult our business to record revenue and profitability. Together, we look forward to working with the Board at this critical moment in time to review our strategic alternatives and maximize value for all WWE shareholders.”

Stephanie McMahon:

“I cannot put into words how proud I am to have helped lead what I consider to be the greatest company in the world and I am confident WWE is in the perfect position to continue to provide unparalleled creative content and drive maximum value for shareholders.”

Nick Khan:

“Stephanie McMahon is a terrific executive and an even better person. It has been an honor to serve as Co-CEO with her. She will only continue to succeed.

“I’m grateful to Vince McMahon and our Board of Directors for their ongoing support. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them and my WWE colleagues to ensure our company may thrive as the premiere powerhouse in sports entertainment for years to come.”

January 6, 2023

WWE is providing the following update regarding the composition of its Board of Directors and the exploration of strategic alternatives

Today, we announce that the founder of WWE, Vince McMahon, will be returning to the Board,” said Chairwoman & Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon, Co-CEO Nick Khan and Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque. “We also welcome back Michelle Wilson and George Barrios to our Board of Directors. Together, we look forward to exploring all strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.”

As Vince McMahon stated yesterday, “WWE has an exceptional management team in place, and I do not intend for my return to have any impact on their roles, duties, or responsibilities."

In connection with the change in the composition of the Board of Directors and in cooperation with Vince McMahon as majority shareholder, the Company intends to undertake a review of its strategic alternatives with the goal being to maximize value for all WWE shareholders. There is no assurance that this process will result in a transaction.

Vince McMahon, in his capacity as controlling shareholder of the Company, has removed JoEllen Lyons Dillon, Jeffrey R. Speed and Alan M. Wexler from the Board. Vince McMahon, George Barrios and Michelle Wilson have been added to the Board to fill the resulting vacancies.

The Board currently consists of:

Vince McMahon

Stephanie McMahon

Nick Khan

Paul Levesque

Steve Koonin

Michelle McKenna

Steve Pamon

George Barrios

Michelle Wilson

Ignace Lahoud and Man Jit Singh have resigned from the Board, effective today.

January 5, 2023

Vince McMahon Trying To Get Back Into WWE For Media RIghts Negotiations

According to Lauren Thomas of the Wall Street Journal, Vince McMahon is planning to return to WWE in order to pursue a sale of the business. McMahon has reportedly told the company that he is electing himself and former co-presidents and directors, Michelle Wilson and George Barrios, to the board.

This move will require three current directors to vacate their positions.

Previous attempts for McMahon to be reinstated have been rebuffed by the board and he will need board approval if he assumes the role as executive chairman, which he reportedly expects to do.

McMahon still has majority voting power due to his ownership of WWE Class B stock.

The report goes on to state the board responded last month in a letter to Mr. McMahon that it was prepared to initiate a review process and would welcome working with him on it. It was reportedly unanimously agreed that Mr. McMahon’s return to the business wouldn’t be in shareholders’ best interest.

McMahon has reportedly communicated to the board that unless he has direct involvement as executive chairman from the outset of a strategic review, he won’t support or approve any media-rights deal or sale.

WWE media rights for WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown are reportedly set to be negotiated in the near future as the contracts for both shows end in 2024.

Vince McMahon sent out the following press release:

GREENWICH, Conn., Jan. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Vince McMahon, the founder and controlling shareholder of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. ("WWE" or the "Company") (NYSE: WWE), announced today that he has taken necessary actions to position the Company to capitalize on a unique opportunity to maximize long-term value for all WWE shareholders. The actions, communicated to WWE's Board of Directors today via written consent, include the election to the Board of Mr. McMahon, as well as Michelle Wilson and George Barrios – former WWE Co-Presidents and Board members, and currently the Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Isos Capital Management – and the requisite removal from the Board of three directors. Mr. McMahon expects to assume the role of Executive Chairman of the Board.

Mr. McMahon's new role will enable unified decision making through the Company's upcoming media rights negotiations and a parallel full review of the Company's strategic alternatives, which Mr. McMahon believes is the right course of action and in the best interests of WWE and WWE shareholders amidst the current dynamics in the media and entertainment industry. As Mr. McMahon has communicated to the Board, he believes there is a narrow window of opportunity to create significant value for all shareholders and that to do so, the strategic alternatives review must occur in tandem with the media rights negotiations. He also expressed to the Board that he believes these two initiatives require Mr. McMahon's direct participation, leadership, and support as controlling shareholder.

"WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms," said Mr. McMahon. "The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives. My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder."

Prior to delivering written consent, Mr. McMahon sent two separate letters to the Board in late December in which he expressed the urgency of his return to the Company as Executive Chairman and his desire to work collaboratively with the Board and management team. Following conversations with representatives of the Company both before and after Mr. McMahon's most recent letter on December 31, Mr. McMahon determined, consistent with his rights as controlling shareholder, that the steps announced today are necessary to maximize value for all WWE shareholders.

In conjunction with the changes to WWE's Board, Mr. McMahon's written consent also includes certain amendments to the Company's bylaws to ensure that WWE's corporate governance continues to properly enable and support shareholder rights. These changes will be detailed in a Schedule 13D amendment to be filed by Mr. McMahon and a Form 8-K to be filed by the Company in the coming days.

bylaws to ensure that WWE's corporate governance continues to properly enable and support shareholder rights. These changes will be detailed in a Schedule 13D amendment to be filed by Mr. McMahon and a Form 8-K to be filed by the Company in the coming days.

No assurances can be given regarding the outcome or timing of the review process. Mr. McMahon does not intend to comment further until the process has concluded or Mr. McMahon has otherwise determined that further disclosure is appropriate or required.

McMahon has stated that he remains willing to continue working to complete any reimbursement for reasonable expenses related to the investigation, to the extent they aren’t covered by insurance.

McMahon reportedly also declined the offer to not return to the company.

Source: fightful.com

December 20, 2022

Vince McMahon’s Planned WWE Comeback Is Predictable But Not Feasible

December 6, 2022

Axios Highlights WWE Business Success Following Vince McMahon's Exit

For most companies, the departure of a CEO would usually result in a wave of uncertainty from investors, and can often even result in the stock price tanking. However, that simply hasn't been the case for WWE in 2022. The company has performed exceedingly well in the aftermath of longtime CEO Vince McMahon's departure over the summer, and news website Axios has now declared WWE "2022's media winner."

Nearly every major publicly traded entertainment company has seen its stock plummet this year, except World Wrestling Entertainment.

The company now has a market capitalization of nearly $6 billion, up from a little under $4 billion when it signed a landmark five-year streaming distribution deal with Peacock in 2021.

Why it matters: Investors are bullish on WWE as an acquisition target, especially in light of a hush money scandal that led to the retirement of the company's longtime leader and controlling shareholder Vince McMahon in July.

Details: WWE, along with other independent sports entertainment companies, could be hot targets for streaming companies looking to bolster subscriber numbers and global followings.

While WWE's exclusive U.S. streaming rights deal with Peacock doesn't expire until 2026, its two biggest live TV deals with Fox and Comcast are set to lapse in 2024.

Between the lines: Earlier this month, WWE ended its monthslong investigation into alleged misconduct by McMahon, concluding that he made nearly $20 million of previously undisclosed payments, most of which went toward settling sexual misconduct claims.

But the company has had a relatively smooth leadership transition in the wake of the scandal, keeping investors optimistic about its long-term growth strategy.
The return of live events following COVID-era lockdowns this year has been a boon for WWE.

The bottom line: Much of WWE's revenue is tied to long-term media contracts and big events, which has helped the company dodge much of the advertising-driven headwinds plaguing other media firms.

November 2, 2022

WWE’s Vince McMahon Investigation Ended Up Costing $19.4M In Expenses

The WWE, led by co-CEOs Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan, handily beat Wall Street expectations on revenue in its third quarter, delivering net revenue of $304.6 million, and operating income of $58.9 million.

The bump in revenue was “primarily due an increase in both domestic and international media rights fees related to the Company’s flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown,” the company said.

Indeed, the majority of the revenue, some $233 million, came from media rights, with live events accounting for $35.2 million, and consumer products $36.4 million.

But while many entertainment companies are beginning to lower expectations for the rest of the year amid an uncertain economic environment, the WWE appears bullish on its prospects, telling investors that it now expects full year 2022 Adjusted OIBDA to be at the “upper end” of its $370 million – $385 million range from just a few months ago, including fourth quarter 2022 Adjusted OIBDA of $83 million – $90 million.

In its earnings report, the WWE also provided an update into the board investigation into former CEO Vince McMahon. McMahon retired amid the probe back in July, but he remains the company’s controlling shareholder.

“The Special Committee investigation is now complete and the Special Committee has been disbanded,” the company said in the earnings report. “Management is working with the Board to implement the recommendations of the Special Committee related to the investigation.”

The company says it spent $17.7 million on costs associated with the investigation in Q3, and $19.4M so far this year. 

September 2, 2022

WWE promotes Levesque and Riddick, boosts pay for post-Vince McMahon leaders

WWE is making further tweaks to its leadership group in the wake of former chief Vince McMahon's exit.

In an SEC filing, the company notes that following McMahon's resignation of all company positions on July 22, his roles have been spread among four executives: Chairwoman/co-CEO Stephanie McMahon;  Co-CEO Nick Khan; Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer Frank Riddick III; and Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque.

In further changes, Friday the company elevated Riddick to president of the company (though he'll retain his role as chief financial officer).

WWE also decided to enhance compensation of the four due to the additional duties. Base salaries are increasing: Stephanie McMahon to $1.35M from $730,000; Khan to $1.35M from $1.2M; Riddik to $950,000 from $850,000; and Levesque to $900,000 from $730,000.

Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon and Levesque will continue to receive guaranteed minimums under their booking agreements, of $750,000 and $1M respectively.

The foursome also saw expectations set for annual target bonuses, future annual equity grants, and special equity grants. They also received severance protection in the event of a change in control of WWE.

July 29, 2022

Insight Into The Dynamic Of Stephanie McMahon And Nick Khan As WWE Co-CEOs

Following Vince McMahon’s decision to retire one week ago amid allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity, Stephanie McMahon, his daughter, has taken up the reins as chairwoman moving forward. In addition, Stephanie will also work side-by-side with Nick Khan — who became an executive within the company in August 2020 — as co-CEOs. Although their tenure sharing the executive position has just begun, the lid has been lifted on the duo’s dynamic behind the scenes.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter has disclosed that Khan will deal with the business side of the company, while McMahon will be the public face of WWE and will run the wrestling side of business with her husband, Paul Levesque (fka Triple H). Levesque, who will also serve the company as EVP of Talent Relations, assumed the role of head of creative for the entire organization’s on-screen product earlier this week in the aftermath of his father-in-law’s exit. The Observer noted that, for many years, the belief was that Stephanie and Levesque were the heirs to the throne, and despite recent events making it seem unlikely, that now seems to have come to unexpected fruition, especially as regards to the wrestling side of things.

Additionally, in regard to Stephanie and Khan’s roles as co-CEOs, it was said from people who work with top executives in a similar arrangement that, more often than not, things don’t tend to work out. Disagreements are reportedly common, as neither person will have complete power to implement their own vision. Nevertheless, a WWE source is encouraged by the news of the pair sharing the key position.

I actually believe this pairing is necessary,” a WWE source told the Wrestling Observer. “Nick is a revenue driver. And he’s been involved in things that are not his specialty. What he’s good at, he’s great at. Steph is the promoter. The old school promoter with the new lexicon in media about analytics and branding. If Steph sticks to being a promoter, managing the relationships for the company, and Nick sticks to revenue, they’re a formidable team.”

Triple H Comments On Leading WWE Creative

During a media scrum in Nashville as part of WWE SummerSlam week, Triple H was asked by Nick Hausman of Wrestling INC how his vision will change from that of Vince's.

"You gotta watch the show. You gotta watch the show," he said with a laugh.

He continued, providing a little more color on the situation by saying, "This is the longest-running stuff on TV, we say it all the time. Raw, SmackDown, SummerSlam, everything we're doing. There are a massive pair of shoes to fill that I'm trying in some way to step into, but I do not dream, for one second, that I can fill those shoes by myself. It's going to take a lot of us. It's going to take a team. It's going to take everybody here to fill those shoes and continue on, but we will. The intent is to continue the legacy of what has been going on, that made me fall in love with this business that he created and to take it to new levels. To take it to beyond where it is now. The only way we're going to do that is as a team. That's with Steph, Nick Khan, myself, Kevin Dunn, everybody that is here. All this talent. The great, hardest working talent in the world. I have no doubt in my mind that with this team, we can do it. Not an inkling of doubt. It's just a lot of hard work and we're all going to grind. We have the greatest fans in the world and we're going to make sure they get everything they want out of this product and then some."

With Vince retiring, Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan were named Co-CEOs of the company.

Later during the scrum, Triple H was asked by Jon Alba of AdFreeShows about Paul Heyman, who is helping scout talent during the WWE tryouts, possibly being involved in creative and development aspects going forward

"I want ideas from everybody. I want thoughts from everybody. To me, this inclusive. That goes for the talent. When I say this is going to take all of us, it's going to take all of us. I want that. Paul is one of the best promos in the history of this business. Who better? When I asked him to be part of this, he was thrilled. We both joke about the fountain of youth at these things. Who better to come here to talk about that skill? Paul has the gift of gab, always has. Who better to come here and motivate these kids?" said Triple H, before also mentioning Big E and Bianca Belair as people who have helped out with the tryouts.

source: fightful.com

July 25, 2022

WWE and Board of Directors Announce New Co-CEOs Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan; Paul Levesque to Assume Control of Creative

WWE and its Board of Directors today announced the appointment of Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan as co-Chief Executive Officers. Ms. McMahon has also been appointed Chairwoman of the Board, and Mr. Khan will continue to serve as a member of the Board. These appointments follow Vince McMahon’s retirement announcement on Friday, July 22.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to lead WWE together with our unmatched management team," said Ms. McMahon and Mr. Khan. "We recognize this is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility, and we look forward to serving the WWE Universe." 

Additionally, WWE executive Paul Levesque will assume all responsibilities related to WWE’s creative, in addition to his regular duties.

July 22, 2022

Vince McMahon Retires

Vince McMahon today released the following statement:

“As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE. Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you. I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand. Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment. I hold the deepest appreciation and admiration for our generations of fans all over the world who have liked, currently like, and sometimes even love our form of Sports Entertainment.

“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always. I am extremely confident in the continued success of WWE, and I leave our company in the capable hands of an extraordinary group of Superstars, employees, and executives – in particular, both Chairwoman and Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon and Co-CEO Nick Khan. As the majority shareholder, I will continue to support WWE in any way I can. My personal thanks to our community and business partners, shareholders, and Board of Directors for their guidance and support through the years. Then. Now. Forever. Together.”

January 25, 2022

Nick Khan Confirms WWE Has Taken Calls About A Potential Sale, Reason For Internal Changes

Nick Khan, Stephanie McMahon, Eli Manning and Vince McMahon at March of Dimes event.

WWE has taken calls from other companies looking to purchase the sports entertainment heavyweight, but they are not looking to sell.

WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan, pictured above with WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, and NFL star Eli Manning at a March of Dimes Sports Luncheon back in November, recently spoke with Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand and revealed the interest from other companies.

Khan confirmed that WWE has taken some inbound calls from other companies looking to buy, but he stressed that WWE is not in active talks trying to sell the company, and they are not actively looking to sell.

Khan also commented on how Vince sees the company, and WWE bringing him on a year and a half ago.

“If it once was a mom-and-pop shop, Vince certainly didn’t believe it was anymore,” Khan said. “Part of what I believe he was looking for in bringing in someone from the outside was to make sure the community at large didn’t treat it that way. We believe we’re a global content company.”

It was noted how Khan didn’t just target the broader sports and entertainment community with this push as he felt that he needed to change internal attitudes as well. While working for CAA Sports agency, Khan is the one who represented WWE when they sold their media rights to FOX and NBCUniversal. The FOX deal is worth $1 billion over 5 years, while the NBC deal is worth around $1.3 billion over 5 years.

Khan noted that during those 2018 negotiations, he was struck by the attitude of some WWE staffers, most of whom were not steeped in the intricacies of media. He said some of them acted as though they were fortunate just to have a seat at the table, and were content to negotiate with executives far down the chain of command.

Khan said he felt like that business attitude, as well as an overall knowledge of the media marketplace, needed to change in WWE.

“Vince believed that WWE was at a place where it had earned a seat at the adult table, but others in the company didn’t see it that way,” Khan said.

It’s no secret that WWE has undergone many internal changes since hiring Khan in August 2020. He and Vince have overseen an almost complete turnover of WWE’s media division, and the types of media deals WWE cuts have changed, as have the executives who negotiate those deals.

Khan went on a hiring spree soon after joining WWE as his goal was to bring in executives who shared Vince’s vision about the size and influence of WWE.

“For the company to be treated the way that Vince, Stephanie, [WWE executive] Kevin Dunn and myself and others believed it should be treated in the community, you needed executives who reflected that, who had range, who could get people on the phone and who could be taken seriously by their peers,” Khan said.

The corporate changes led to a series of moves that show a changing media strategy in WWE, which includes the new streaming strategy that saw the company license the WWE Network to Peacock as part of a 5 year, $1 billion deal. WWE executives see the Peacock deal as a template for similar international streaming deals.

WWE also decided to partner with outside production houses on programming featuring some of its biggest Superstars. Khan said WWE wants to be in business with everyone who is a real player.

“We want to be in business with everybody who is a real player in this business,” Khan said. “Understanding the business — where it’s at and where it’s heading — is a key part to all of this.”

Regarding Saturday’s WWE Royal Rumble event from The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Khan noted that ticket sales are tracking at an all-time high for The Rumble. One of WWE’s newer strategies is to stage events on different nights of the week, which is why SummerSlam and The Rumble were moved to Saturdays, among others. WWE credited the SummerSlam night change with helping the event post the largest gate in its history.

Nick Khan: WWE Wants To Work With ‘Real’ Players In The Media Industry

WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan wants to do what’s best for business.

In an interview with John Ourand of SBJ, Khan shared the company’s mindset regarding its business deals by noting that WWE wants to work with those who can be considered a “real player” in media.

“In what is now a cluttered OTT subscriber marketplace, it only made sense to partner with somebody,” said Khan. “We want to be in business with everybody who is a real player in this business. Understanding the business — where it’s at and where it’s heading — is a key part to all of this.”

The WWE President also looked back on his move to the company in 2020. Khan has been criticized for being an outsider, in terms of his connection to the wrestling industry, but he noted that Vince McMahon and other executives wanted to bring someone who would be “taken seriously” in the media marketplace.

“Part of what I believe he was looking for in bringing in someone from the outside was to make sure the community at large didn’t treat it that way,” said Khan. “We believe we’re a global content company. Vince believed that WWE was at a place where it had earned a seat at the adult table, but others in the company didn’t see it that way. For the company to be treated the way that Vince, Stephanie (McMahon), [WWE executive] Kevin Dunn and myself and others believed it should be treated in the community, you needed executives who reflected that, who had range, who could get people on the phone and who could be taken seriously by their peers.”

Throughout Khan’s time with the company, WWE has continued to bring in record profits and reach new heights with its Peacock deal, among other moves, though the company has also come under fire for its cost-cutting maneuvers. Most notably, the promotion has cut numerous superstars and employees, even after the height of the initial COVID-19 surge had passed.

December 13, 2021

Top WWE Executives Make “Most Influential People In Sports Business” List

Three of WWE’s top executives are featured on Sports Business Journal’s 2021 Most Influential People in Sports Business list.

WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, WWE President & CRO Nick Khan, and WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon are included on the list under the “Most Influential: Media Influencers” category.

SBJ pointed how there is a clear repositioning of WWE to a media business under Khan. They touted two big projects in the works – Netflix’s docuseries on Vince, and the Blumhouse-developed “The United States of America Vs. Vince McMahon” TV series. SBJ wrote the following on The McMahons and Khan making the list together:

“There is clearly a repositioning of the WWE to a media business under Khan, who joined the company from CAA Sports in August 2020, especially with the move to Peacock as part of a five-year deal reported to be more than $1 billion. High-profile projects include a multipart Netflix docuseries on Vince McMahon’s life and a deal with Blumhouse Television on a scripted series about the WWE in the 1990s.”

SBJ’s “Most Influential: Media Influencers” list for 2021 also included executives from ESPN, NBC Sports Group, Amazon, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, and WarnerMedia News & Sports/Turner Sports.

The listing on WarnerMedia News & Sports Chairman Jeff Zucker and Turner Sports President Lenny Daniels did not mention AEW, but did tout how Turner added NHL hockey and Premiere League soccer to the line-up, noting how Zucker and Daniels have become more aggressive in picking up sports rights. It was also noted that Warner/Turner now have one of the highest quality portfolios in all of sports media.

August 22, 2021

Nick Khan Comments On Recent Releases

“There’s a collective of us, keep in mind at WWE their is one boss, that’s Vince as we all know. Between Bruce Prichard who oversees the entire creative process, Kevin Dunn, who oversees all of our production, Stephanie McMahon, Paul Levesque are all involved in these decisions, with ultimately Vince making the final decision on everything”

“I don’t know if there is one explanation for it, ultimately what’s looked at, ‘Is this person for us going move to the needle now or in the imminent future’. ‘We signed a dozen new talent, we’re always looking for what’s next. We live in the present, we live in the future, 7 don’t live in the past”

WWE'S Nick Khan Promises Imminent NXT Revamp

WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan says that a "revamp" of NXT is underway and that changes to the product will be seen within a couple of weeks. 

In an interview with Ariel Helwani for BT Sport, Khan said that Triple H is leading the changes. 

"We're doing a complete revamp on NXT, led by Triple H, Paul Levesque, who is really one of the architects of the original NXT," said Khan. 

"In terms of an NXT rebrand, look for it in the next couple of weeks. It's gonna have a whole new look, it's gonna have a whole new feel."

Khan also indicated a change in philosophy when it comes to recruiting talent for NXT. 

"What we believe, because of lot of the 'indie wrestlers' if you will have come through our system and are in our system with SmackDown and Raw now, we don't want to just keep doing that same thing," said Khan.  "We want to look elsewhere for great young talent."

Khan also spoke of a more direct kind of developmental system, comparing it to high school and college football talent recruiting. 

"So what we found, it's part of why we did the tryout [Las Vegas tryout on Friday], what we want to make sure is it's easy for folks who want to be WWE superstars figuring out how to be WWE superstars," said Khan. 

"If you think of the life of an elevated athlete throughout their career, the opportunity to go play somewhere has always been easy, being able to play somewhere is not... If you're an amazing high school football player, colleges come after you, you get recruited, you go into their system, and either you make it or you don't make it. All that it takes to get there? Difficult. The system? Not difficult," said Khan. 

"We want our system to be an easy system where people who want to be superstars know how to get to us and we can get to them."

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