U.S. Markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,655.04
    -38.19 (-1.03%)
     
  • Dow 30

    29,260.81
    -329.60 (-1.11%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    10,802.92
    -65.00 (-0.60%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,655.88
    -23.71 (-1.41%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    76.41
    -2.33 (-2.96%)
     
  • Gold

    1,629.30
    -26.30 (-1.59%)
     
  • Silver

    18.33
    -0.58 (-3.09%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    0.9610
    -0.0078 (-0.8072%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    3.8780
    +0.1810 (+4.90%)
     
  • Vix

    32.26
    +2.34 (+7.82%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.0688
    -0.0169 (-1.5540%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    144.6800
    +1.3600 (+0.9489%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    19,139.00
    +195.06 (+1.03%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    439.23
    +6.13 (+1.42%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,020.95
    +2.35 (+0.03%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    26,431.55
    -722.28 (-2.66%)
     

WWE leadership change won’t ‘hold the company back at all,’ analyst explains

·4 min read

Longtime WWE frontman Vince McMahon has stepped down as CEO and chairman, leaving behind a void in the most electrifying circus on television.

But one analyst argued the leadership change appears to be coming off smoothly.

"I don't think it'll hold the company back at all," Brandon Ross, media and technology analyst at LightShed Partners, told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "I think that the company has had a succession plan in place for a very long time. They have a management team in place that they are very confident in, and frankly, we are too."

Apr 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Pat McAfee (center) is attacked by Austin Theory (right) during his match with WWE owner Vince McMahon (left) during WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Pat McAfee (center) is attacked by Austin Theory (right) during his match with WWE owner Vince McMahon (left) during WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The modern World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) is the culmination of almost 70 years of constant expansion and absorption of smaller, regional wrestling franchises helmed by McMahon and his father, Jess McMahon.

However, the WWE image was slammed after reports surfaced that the SEC and federal prosecutors were investigating the entertainment company over hush money payoffs and sexual misconduct allegations levied against Vince McMahon that led to a hastened retirement.

WWE stock rose more than 5% in the month after McMahon announced his resignation on July 22.

New leadership for WWE

McMahon's daughter Stephanie McMahon now serves as the acting co-CEO alongside former chief revenue officer Nick Khan.

"I think in terms of their relationships with their licensing partners and sponsorship partners, as soon as Vince was removed from the equation, the pressure there actually eased," Ross said, later adding that "the co-CEO thing is a little bit unusual. It's something that WWE has done in the past with co-presidents."

The structure will allow each executive to play to their strong suits, like a tag-team duo, Ross added.

“What you'll see is Stephanie is going to be in charge of everything that has to do with the branding and image of the company and a lot of stuff on the operations side,” he said. “Whereas Nick's main role is going to be revenue. And integral to revenue is cutting deals with third parties, whether it's the licensing deals for RAW or SmackDown or their pay-per-view events which are, in the United States, largely NBC.”

Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H attend the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC, Getty Images)
Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H attend the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC, Getty Images)

Stephanie McMahon is the company's second female CEO, following in the footsteps of her mother Linda McMahon, who was appointed president in 1993 and served as CEO from 1997 until 2009.

The CEO's husband and former WWE star Paul "Triple H" Levesque has also been given creative responsibilities as executive vice president by his father-in-law.

"I don't think we're going all the way back to the Attitude Era, but clearly the new head of creative... 'Triple H' is from an era where that resonated," Ross said on fan excitement.

WWE's production crewmen reported that they have felt a "massively night and day" shift in the company's workplace atmosphere since Vince McMahon's departure. McMahon was accused of quashing unionization efforts by wrestlers during his tenure at WWE.

'No shortage of potential buyers'

The new management brings into question just how much the company's public-facing leaders matter to its future.

The family-owned enterprise has evolved with each passing decade, expanding from simple broadcasting to live events, video games, and film production. With McMahon's retirement, many investors questioned whether the business would be sold.

WWE Superstars Edge dives off the ropes to take down Alberto Del Rio in front of a sold-out, record crowd of 71,617 during WrestleMania XXVII at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, April 3, 2011. (Paul Abell/AP Images for WWE)
WWE Superstars Edge dives off the ropes to take down Alberto Del Rio in front of a sold-out, record crowd of 71,617 during WrestleMania XXVII at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, April 3, 2011. (Paul Abell/AP Images for WWE)

"There's clearly no shortage of potential buyers for this asset as media companies and platforms look for owned content, especially live content," Ross stated. "Do we believe that it's true that this business is going to get sold? Probably not in the near term. We think that Stephanie and Paul and Nick really want to run this business."

"It's important, especially to Stephanie, to continue the legacy of her father and maybe put her own imprint on the business," Ross continued. "So we don't think it's actually going to get sold, but what we do think is that there's operational improvements that might come out of this."

Ross noted that the WWE may look to elevate its mid-card talent which has garnered fan excitement.

"Fans have been clamoring to get back towards more technical wrestling — a little bit more of the blood," Ross said. "So I think you'll move a little more in that direction. There will be other changes.”

"Generally if fans are excited, in the media industry — it's all about eyeballs — that means investors should be excited, too," he added.

Luke is a producer for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter @theLukeCM.

Click here for the latest trending stock tickers of the Yahoo Finance platform

Click here for the latest stock market news and in-depth analysis, including events that move stocks

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Download the Yahoo Finance app for Apple or Android

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, and YouTube