Vince McMahon signs two-year deal while WWE searches for buyers
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Chairman Vince McMahon is introduced during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Vince McMahon has signed a two-year employment contract World Wrestling Entertainment.
The WWE chairman’s agreement dates back to Jan. 9, when he returned to the company, according to a securities filing. His deal comes about as WWE has been actively speaking with suitors.
As part of his most recent contract, which includes an annual base salary of $1.2 million that includes an incentive bonus target of 175% of that salary. If a deal were to go through, McMahon would receive a $2.4 million lump sum payout, plus his incentive bonus, which would be doubled and paid up front.
CEO Nick Khan told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan this week that it’s been a robust sale process so far, with many attractive bidders. Earlier in the week, CNBC’s David Faber, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the trial was “hot and heavy”.
McMahon returned to the WWE Board of Directors in January and helped negotiate the sale. He resigned from his CEO role last June amid a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations from former WWE employees. He later announced his resignation.
At that time, his daughter Stephanie McMahon had taken over as co-CEO of WWE, a McMahon family business. She resigned in January following the return of Vince McMahon.
Last month, Khan told CNBC that McMahon was willing to step down from his position “if it’s the right deal.” The potential future involvement of McMahon, WWE’s controlling shareholder, has become an early sticking point in preliminary talks with some buyers, CNBC previously reported.
“Vince made it clear to me and the market that he doesn’t need to be involved in any bid or deal to move forward and he has kept his word on that as many of us predicted,” Khan said on CNBC earlier this week.
Khan added that since he’s been back for the past three months, McMahon has been “quite complementary to myself, too creative to have the expert on the business here if we want to reach out and have conversations.”
Additionally, according to the filing, his contract gives McMahon the rights to his “life story” and related intellectual property.
McMahon acquired the company from his father in 1982 and ran it until 2022. He even stepped into the ring several times. His contract agreement gives him the right to tell his life story with WWE, with a guarantee that he will not face any future lawsuits or retaliation out of business.
WWE stock is up about 34% so far this year, slightly outperforming the broader market amid intensifying sales talk.