A Tuesday night Twitter storm 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, nearly blinding them to the denial that a sale had been completed by several prominent figures in wrestling media. The strangest part of the ordeal is a lack of WWE denial, even though the company is well aware of the rumors on the heels of Vince McMahon’s return to the company six months after his resignation.
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 posting.
The original tweet was echoed by a large swath of wrestling media, who said they would check with sources to see if the smoke would lead to an inferno. For now, it appears this smoke barely has any embers. As toxic as those smoldering sticks are, a lack of an official WWE comment doesn’t outright eliminate the possibility of the largest professional wrestling company in the world falling into the hands of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A WWE spokesperson has not to returned Deadspin’s request for comment.
The timing of WWE’s official sale is suspect, with McMahon officially returning to the company as executive chairman this week. Right before Muehlhausen’s original tweet, Stephanie McMahon, Vince’s daughter, resigned from her post as the company’s co-CEO, a role she originally took after her father’s resignation. WWE also announced less than a week ago that it had partnered with JP Morgan Chase & Co. to assist with a potential sale. Unless the Saudis wrote a blank check for the elder McMahon to cash when he pleases, which isn’t impossible but highly improbable, then any sale would need to be properly vetted. And less than a week to do that isn’t likely because the company’s shareholders would need to approve such a move.
Speaking of WWE’s 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 impose his will on WWE illegally, per Bloomberg News. The lawsuit also mentions changes to the company’s Board of Directors and interfering with media rights deals.
While a WWE sale to Saudi Arabia isn’t in any way confirmed at the moment, it’s easy to connect the dots, with the company running several premium live events from the Kingdom over the last several years. It’s also possible this sale happens eventually, due to the massive amounts of money the public investment fund has, evidenced by the creation of LIV Golf and how the new golf promotion has courted many of the PGA’s top stars on lucrative deals. It’s also clear that Muehlhausen jumped the gun on a huge breaking news story.