Topline

World Wrestling Entertainment stock surged Monday as investors proved optimistic following the Friday retirement of its controversial billionaire CEO and chairman Vince McMahon, even as the company provided a peek at just how deep McMahon’s alleged misconduct ran.

Key Facts

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WWE disclosed $14.6 million in previously unrecorded expenses paid by McMahon in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Monday, following a Wall Street Journal report that McMahon paid over $12 million to four women accusing him of sexual misconduct.

The company said in the filing it “has also received, and may receive in the future, regulatory, investigative and enforcement inquiries, subpoenas or demands” related to the McMahon scandal.

Still, traders latched onto more upbeat news from WWE: The company reported preliminary financial results from the quarter ending June 30 on Monday that far exceeded expectations, and officially announced McMahon’s replacements.

WWE appointed McMahon’s daughter Stephanie McMahon and WWE President Nick Khan as co-CEOs and tapped McMahon’s son-in-law Paul Levesque, the wrestler known as Triple H, as the wrestling promotion’s new creative lead.

Earlier Monday, Loop Capital analyst Alan Gould upgraded his rating for WWE from hold to buy, raising his price target to $90, citing a stronger probability the company will pursue a sale following the Vince McMahon scandal.

Shares of WWE skyrocketed in Monday morning trading, rising 8.15% to $71.64, its highest price since 2019.

Key Background

Known for his brash style, McMahon served as WWE's top executive from 1982 to 2022, transforming the wrestling circuit into a multibillion dollar business. The Wall Street Journal reported in June McMahon paid $3 million to a former WWE employee he had an affair with in 2019, prompting the 76-year-old to step down from his role as CEO and chairman. The Journal reported earlier this month that McMahon paid another $9 million to three other women affiliated with the company, including a former wrestler he allegedly coerced into performing oral sex.

Forbes Valuation

We estimate McMahon to be worth $2.5 billion, up $144 million Monday thanks to WWE's performance in the market.

Vince McMahon Retires From WWE Under Cloud Of Misconduct Probe (Forbes,