WWE confirmed McMahon’s return on Friday, also announcing in a press release that it “intends to review its strategic options with the goal of maximizing value for all WWE shareholders,” suggesting the company is exploring a sale. Shares closed up 17% after the announcement.
“WWE has an exceptional management team, and I do not intend for my return to have any impact on their roles, duties, or responsibilities,” McMahon said in a statement.
McMahon retired as CEO in July 2022, but remains the company’s majority shareholder. After his departure, WWE revealed several expenses that McMahon had not reported, totaling $19.6 million. This forced the company to revise its financial statements for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Although many of the payments are related to the company’s investigation of his alleged sexual misconduct with former employees, McMahon allegedly made anonymous payments of $5 million to former President Donald Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, in 2007 and 2009. According to the Wall Street Journal.
In July 2022, the Journal reported that McMahon paid four women more than $12 million, including one previously reported, to cover up “allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.”
In addition to his return, McMahon shook up the company’s board and replaced three people. However, his daughter Stephanie — who took over as co-CEO and board chair following McMahon’s retirement — will retain the same roles.
In 2021, WWE signed a deal with NBC’s Peacock For a deal “worth more than $1 billion” to stream wrestling events on the platform, the Journal reported.