In a groundbreaking move, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the UFC have merged to create the TKO Group. Today, TKO shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Yahoo Finance's Julie Hyman, Alexandra Canal, and Josh Lipton provide a detailed exploration of this significant business venture, shedding light on the potential benefits for both organizations.
JULIE HYMAN: TKO Holding as in Technical Knockout. WWE and UFC coming together for this new listing. The stock is trading a little bit higher today. You see they rang the bell. And just so many interesting personalities involved in this. Because you have endeavor the big talent firm that owns 51% of this.
You have Vince McMahon, who, by the way, came back, right? He was temporarily removed because there had been allegations of sexual impropriety and harassment. He stepped down from the company, but then he came back to the company.
And so he is still now involved. So there's that kind of, I don't know, somewhat salacious or scandal-ridden issue related to it. But then you have the bet that investors are making, that there are a lot of rights here attached to these properties-- streaming rights, broadcast rights-- that are attractive for investors.
ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah, I think this company is debuting at the perfect time. We're at this crossroads in media where we are seeing a lot of cord cutting, where we are seeing consumers opt for streaming services. And you're right. There's that exposure to linear, but not fully exposed to linear. So they can utilize this streaming boom that we're seeing across the sector.
And on top of that, you're seeing a lot of companies really embrace live sports, right? We have Warner Brothers and Discovery teasing a live sports offering. We know Disney is going to take ESPN fully over the top. Another element of stickiness to really drive people to platforms. So again, I think it's just a perfect time for this company to really emerge.
- Yeah, and I think also people, sometimes you get reminded of how big UFC is. And one of the first stories I ever wrote, this is like 20, 25 years ago. Allie was like, dude, how old are you? I went to, like, a UFC. It was Atlantic City.
It was so small that I was actually able-- I literally just walked down to the Octagon-- no credentials, nothing-- and just introduced myself to Dana White, the UFC President. I mean, that's how small it was. And now you fast forward, apparently you're talking about a fan base that's 700 million. I mean, it is a global sport.
JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, it was so enticing, I guess, ROTH MKM already initiated coverage of it with a buy rating, and talked about the sweet spot of the evolving media eco structure, if you will, what you're talking about, about being able to access these different types of opportunities, streaming, and broadcast. So we'll end up seeing what happens. I should mention-- I was talking about McMahon. He is the executive chairman, so he's not running this company day to day. But it's just, again, interesting kind of the personalities that are involved here.