You can tell Vince is back from the chaos and lawsuit that follows. Image: Getty Images
A Twitter storm on Tuesday night gave way to endless speculation that WWE would be sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. It whipped professional wrestling fans into a frenzy, almost blinding them to the denial that a sale had been completed by several prominent figures in the wrestling media. The strangest part of the ordeal is a lack of WWE denial, although the company is well aware of the rumors surrounding Vince McMahon’s return to the company six months after his retirement.
DAZN’s Steven Muehlhausen first reported the news of the “sale” but has already deleted the tweet “breaking” the news – less than 24 hours after it was posted.
The original tweet was echoed by a legion of wrestling media, who said they would check with sources if the smoke would lead to an inferno. Right now, that smoke doesn’t seem to have much of an ember. As toxic as these smoldering sticks are, the lack of official WWE commentary doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of the world’s largest professional wrestling corporation falling into the hands of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A WWE spokesperson is not required to respond to Deadspin’s request for comment.
The timing of WWE’s official sale is suspect, as McMahon will officially return to the company as Executive Chairman this week. Immediately prior to Muehlhausen’s original tweet, Stephanie McMahon, Vince’s daughter, resigned from her position as co-CEO of the company, a role she originally assumed after her father’s resignation. WWE also announced less than a week ago that it has partnered with JP Morgan Chase & Co. to help with a potential sale. Unless the Saudis have given the elder McMahon a blank check to cash when he wants, which is not impossible but highly unlikely, any sale would need to be carefully considered. And less than a week for that is unlikely, since the company’s shareholders would have to approve such a move.
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Speaking of WWE shareholders, a class action lawsuit was filed against Vince McMahon in Delaware this week. Scott Fellows is suing McMahon, accusing him of flaunting his more than 80 percent voting control of the company to illegally impose his will on WWE, according to Bloomberg News. The lawsuit also mentions changes to the company’s board of directors and interference with media rights deals.
While a WWE sale to Saudi Arabia is in no way confirmed at this time, it’s easy to connect the dots given that the company has hosted several premium live events from the kingdom over the past several years. It’s also possible that this sale will eventually happen due to the vast amounts of money the public investment fund has at its disposal, as evidenced by the creation of LIV Golf and how the new golf promotion has courted many of the PGA’s top stars for lucrative deals. It’s also clear that Muehlhausen has rushed ahead on a huge breaking news story.