During a recent episode of the 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff talked about a WWE deal with Saudi Arabia and what it would mean for all of pro wrestling and the company. The former WCW head also discussed the effect of the promotion going private, and here are some excerpts from the chat.
Any changes from Saudi Arabia buying WWE:
“There’s a lot to talk about there. But let’s just break it down and one of the things that I learned in the research that I’ve done over the last few days is that when a foreign entity — any foreign entity — decides to buy an American company, there are anti-trust issues and hoops that have to be jumped through with the Securities Exchange Commission.
So right off the bat, to suggest that ‘Oh, that transaction is going to happen, it happened this afternoon, and it’s going to be announced tomorrow morning at 8AM,’ which was kind of the narrative that was floating around for a minute – it’s a joke.
If the Saudi Investment Fund actually wanted to acquire WWE, that is a long process and a complex one with no assurances that it would be approved.
Maybe it wouldn’t, but you don’t know and you wouldn’t know for a long time. It’s a complex process, so there’s that. Now, I don’t know, Saudis have investments in Berkshire Hathaway.
Saudis probably have investments in a lot of companies that we probably don’t even know, minority investments. They’re minority shareholders.
They’re shareholders just like everybody else. Could the Saudis help fund the process of taking the company private as a minority investor?
I think so without it being a big issue. But, if they wanted to buy the company and own the company, that’s a different conversation. It comes with a tremendous amount of complexities as it relates to antitrust issues.”
Eric Bischoff explains what going private could mean for WWE:
“The preliminary research that I’ve done into this process, I’m even more convinced now than my gut told me a week ago,
Vince is going to take it private. I can see him [Vince McMahon] teaming up with an Endeavor as a minority private investor, you know because there are some parallels.
There are some very unique parallels, and I’m going off-track here for a second. Very unique parallels between the UFC business model and the WWE business model.
Two different things. One’s apples: it’s a real sport. The other is oranges: it’s scripted entertainment. However, it’s pay-per-view, it’s television rights, it’s licensing, it’s merchandising, it’s negotiating with venues.
Eric Bischoff Coninuted…
So there are a lot of similarities between the UFC and WWE. Where I could see, I hate to use the word synergy because it’s overused and abused, but I could see that play because of those synergies.
It makes sense on paper. I do agree that while Vince was off on the island doing whatever he was doing, I don’t think he was sitting around working on his tan.
Vince had a plan probably twenty minutes after he left the building and made his official resignation. I do think he has a plan. I do think he’s going to take the company private.
It’s not going to cost him as much as people think. It’s going to cost them under four billion dollars. By the way, shareholders are still going to make a fortune.”
Do you enjoy listening to Eric Bischoff interviews on 83 Weeks?