SBD/April 7, 2011/Media

WWE Looking At Acquiring Additional Media Assets, Plans To Launch Cable Net In '12

Vince McMahon willing to take on debt in acquiring media assets
WWE Chair & CEO Vince McMahon “plans to go on a spending spree to acquire media assets that could expand WWE's business beyond the ring,” according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. McMahon said that in particular, WWE is “targeting companies involved in production, live entertainment and branding.” McMahon: "To me, it is anything that is out there. We can take on a ton of debt." Flint reports WWE is “moving ahead with long-talked-about plans to create its own cable network for its vast library of wrestling fare.” The company has been “meeting with distributors including Verizon and hopes to get a channel launched” in ‘12. McMahon also “wants to start marketing WWE's expertise in producing live events.” The moves come as WWE “looks to rebound from a tough end to 2010 that saw attendance at its events and pay-per-view revenue both drop 15% in the fourth quarter.” Flint notes this is “not the first time WWE has tried to expand beyond its core,” as it partnered with NBC to launch the XFL and had a restaurant in Times Square that “flopped.” McMahon said that he has “learned his lesson from those follies and will stick to the entertainment business.” Some analysts “wonder whether WWE wants to grow to position itself for an eventual sale.” There are “very few independent programmers left, and with its healthy balance sheet WWE might be attractive to one of the bigger media companies.” Meanwhile, WWE will “no longer stand for World Wrestling Entertainment,” as it will “just be WWE, plain and simple” (L.A. TIMES, 4/7).
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