Thursday, 13 March 2014

Why wrestling is important for Newcastle United

Here is a tale about a potential US deal that may have significant implications for Newcastle United Football Club.

Good sources tell me the American cable group AMC Networks has been sniffing around World Wrestling Entertainment Inc, the US-listed company behind those wrestling programmes, such as Raw and Smackdown.

AMC Networks has held at least one exploratory conversation with WWE - which saw its shares rise by about 30pc last week - about some kind M&A transaction in recent months, according to "people familiar with the matter". However, the talks are understood to have not gone anywhere.

Another source said bankers from UBS have been advising AMC Networks, owner of Sundance TV, on a potential deal and financing options.

This well-placed source said any transaction may value WWE at between $2.6 and $2.8bn.

At this point you might be wondering what this has do with Newcastle United, which is controlled by the canny retail entrepreneur Mike Ashley.

Well, the chairman of WWE happens to be Vince McMahon who, according to, is interested buying Newcastle United from the maverick Mr Ashley.

See the link to original exclusive article:

So, if Mr McMahon - who occasionally gets into the ring himself - is looking to raise funds to buy Newcastle United, selling some of his large shareholding in WWE to AMC Networks might make sense.

However, an AMC Networks/WWE M&A deal is by no means a certainty.

Late last week, Bloomberg pinned WWE's recent 30pc share price rise to the fact the company is close to securing a fresh contract with a cable TV operator to air its programmes.

Bloomberg also quoted George Barrios, chief financial officer at WWE, as saying WWE isn't in merger talks.

Here is the link to the piece:


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  3. I guess the WWE produces those "ridiculous wrestling programmes" while AMC produces those ridiculous zombie and meth shows. Or something stupid like that. Actually, the truth is that the WWE is looking for a new television deal and that is what AMC is "sniffing" into

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  5. A couple of edits for you The shows produced by the Company WWE are Raw, Smackdown, Main Event, NXT, and Total Divas plus or minus a few. WWF is a former name of the company.

    I am assuming that the deal isn't for shares of the WWE as much as it is for distribution rights for those aforementioned shows. Which are all coming up and the company is trying to shop around to different networks as a bundle deal. But as I am just a fan and not an insider I could be wrong.

  6. I have no clue what the general reputation is of this blog, but please learn the difference between TV rights and a company as a whole. TV rights are what's up for sale--Vince McMahon is never, EVER selling that company to anyone besides his own family, not AMC, not Viacom, not Disney, not anyone. The possibility isn't even up for debate.

  7. Saying Mr McMahon is a "former wrestler" is not correct. He has always been the chairman of the company since he took over from his father Vince Snr, whilst he has performed in the ring that has never been his primary job ever. It would be like saying Boris Johnson was a "semi-professional footballer" because he played on a televised football match.

  8. Well Vince was WWE Champion once.

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