WWE CEO Nick Khan was a guest on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street today (Feb. 3), discussing yesterday’s financial reports & investor conference call — and all the drama & intrigue surrounding the company since Vince McMahon’s return to the Board of Directors earlier this year.
During his appearance on the show, Khan reiterated many of WWE’s points about McMahon’s return and the sale of the company the Board’s Executive Chairman is said to be pursing. Among them was that it makes sense to investigate a sale before negotiating the next round of media rights deals, especially since many of the companies WWE will be talking to about those deals are on the list of potential buyers.
That did get Khan to offer a potential timeframe for a sale:
“Quick. Sorry, I’m not trying to be obtuse in saying that. I think it’s going to be a fast process. Maybe three months.”
Regarding suitors, a Wells Fargo report that listed Netflix, Amazon & Comcast/NBCUniversal as the most likely buyers was brought up. Host David Faber said he’s heard Comcast (current holder of domestic rights to Raw, NXT, and the WWE Network, and CNBC’s parent company) is “probably not at this point” interested. Faber is hearing more about UFC’s parent company Endeavor. Khan responded to say they’re all still on his list:
“Look, I think they’re all possible. We’re still bullish on Comcast being possible. There’s only so much I can say about it at this moment, but we certainly got a warm reception in the marketplace from people who seem interested.”
The CEO also repeated his comments from the investor call about Vince’s involvement in the company post-sale. Faber brought up McMahon’s future as a possible impediment to a deal multiple times, and Khan stuck to his guns each time:
“You’re right, it’s very tough to take control from him. And he’s built an empire which has certainly been good by me, and for me. But no, Vince has declared to the board, to me, and to other upper management — he is 100% open to a transaction where he’s not included in the company moving forward. I really believe he’s looking for the best value for the shareholders. Keep in mind, he’s also a large shareholder. He’s 77 years old, and I think he’s ready to take a look at the landscape.”
Another point that was reiterated from yesterday, Khan said McMahon has not been involved in the creative process since his return.
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