When the kings of Egypt were buried, so legend says, they were buried with their slaves, and their gold, and the baubles of their earthly reign, and without proper intervention, Vince McMahon could take WWE with him in a similar fashion.
“McMahon did not build the company to die with him,” Sports Illustrated Justin Barrasso writes, noting that even if McMahon survives the onslaught of investigations currently besieging him, this feels like the beginning of the end for the titan of Titan Sports.
“Even if McMahon survives this,” Barrasso writes, “his actions are causing his demise.”
McMahon still has some strengths at the moment, as Barrasso notes that McMahon controls a majority of the voting shares of WWE stock, but if the recent revelations — as well as any further revelations from the ongoing investigations — harm the company’s revenue, it would put McMahon in breach of his fiduciary responsibilities. McMahon has stepped down from his corporate duties, with his daughter Stephanie currently the Interim Chairwoman & CEO, but he’s remained at the helm of WWE’s creative direction, even appearing often in recent weeks on WWE programming.
“The success of the company hinges on McMahon’s standing as its leader,” WWE said in a statement to USA Today, and Sports Illustrated points out that this kind of commitment to McMahon in the wake of troubling reports over the past 16 years could turn off the advertisers and media platforms that are the lifeblood of WWE’s current global business model.
“If the value of WWE stock plummets,” Barrasso hypothesizes, “there will probably be a sudden and swift movement calling for change” — though the writer notes he doesn’t find it likely, as “the company continues to turn a profit, and investors keep making money.”
McMahon is currently under investigation by the WWE board of directors over a series of hush money payments to former female employees, with two reports from the Wall Street Journal unearthing around more than $12 million paid out over the last 16 years, and the reporters behind the story suggesting there could be more to come. John Laurinaitis, also named in the investigation, has been placed on administrative leave.
WWE is also being investigated by numerous law firms over their handling of these reports and revelations, as the WWE stock price has not entirely recovered from the dip it took after the initial news story broke in June.
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