The latest SEC filing posted on WWE’s corporate website has a note on Vince McMahon selling 3,340,000 shares of his WWE stock so that he could fund his new company Alpha Entertainment, LLC. That is the company believed to have been set up so that he could start his new football league. Last weekend, it was reported that McMahon’s lawyers registered trademarks for UrFL, UFL, and United Football League.
The filing states:
“On December 21, 2017, Vincent K. McMahon (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. sold 3,340,000 shares of the Company’s Class A common stock in a block trade made in accordance with the provisions of Rule 144 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Mr. McMahon executed the sale primarily to fund a separate entity from the Company, Alpha Entertainment LLC, which Mr. McMahon established to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football. Mr. McMahon has informed the Company that he has no current plan to sell additional shares of the Company’s stock and that he intends to continue in his capacity as the Company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the foreseeable future.
The shares sold by Mr. McMahon represent approximately 4.3% of the Company’s total outstanding shares of Class A and Class B common stock. After the sale, Mr. McMahon beneficially owns 32,193,375 shares of the Company’s Class B common stock, which represents approximately 82.8% of the Company’s total voting power and approximately 41.8% of the Company’s total outstanding shares of common stock.”
We don’t know yet when Vince McMahon plans on launching the league or what network it will be on but it looks like things are getting serious.
Earlier this year, WWE registered for XFL trademarks. At the time, everyone assumed that it was just because they wanted to capitalize on the ESPN 30 for 30 special so that they could sell retro merchandise. Well, just last week (December 16), McMahon’s newly-created company, Alpha Entertainment LLC filed for five different XFL trademarks. The trademarks are for merchandise and “Entertainment services like professional football games and exhibitions.”
The recent filings would seem to indicate that there is still consideration being given to using the old XFL name that was used in 2001 despite other names like United Football League being trademarked. If you are wondering why WWE is not directly funding McMahon’s new venture, it’s likely because McMahon was advised to start a completely separate entity away from WWE to appease stockholders.
It’s worth noting that WWE stock closed at $31.87 on Thursday. It dropped again to $30.80 in after-hours trading. Obviously, Wall Street is not happy and many investors are probably aware that both WWE and NBC lost a lot of money on the XFL in 2001.