World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE: WWE) has seen no shortage of scandal and bad news over the years but it looks like this phoenix could rise again. The company’s founder, major shareholder and former CEO have announced an intention to get back into the game. The company is due for a media rights renegotiation and he wants his seat at the head of the table back.
So far, what he’s done is issue a letter to the board announcing his intent as the primary shareholder to undertake a strategic review of the business. In so doing, he wants to be renamed CEO and will bring former execs back to the C-suite. This is major news for the company as the latest media deal is seen as a non-winner.
"WWE is entering a critical juncture in its history with the upcoming media rights negotiations coinciding with increased industry-wide demand for quality content and live events and with more companies seeking to own the intellectual property on their platforms," said Mr. McMahon in the statement.
What’s The Story With WWE?
Shares of WWE are up more than 13% in early trading following the release of Mr. McMahon’s letter. The current deal with NBCUniversal and USA Network came into play in 2018 and is due for renegotiation this year. The deal was not viewed favorably at the time and sparked a major correction in the price action that is still not recovered.
The recovery was marred by Mr. McMahon’s personal scandal while in his position at the company, but that may be a moot point in the eyes of investors.
"The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives," he continued. "My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder."
The analyst sentiment in WWE has been firming all year, perhaps because of the upcoming renegotiations, and have the stock pegged at a firm Hold verging on Buy. The latest reports came out at the end of last year and had the price target moving higher.
The price target assumes the stock is fairly valued at the new highs, but it is also trending higher, so it may move up in the next few weeks or months.
Bulls And Bears Get Raw
The institutions and short-sellers are also battling it out with this stock. The institutions have been net buyers for the last 12 months and have owned up to 69%. This makes it a tightly held stock, yet the short interest is up around 20%. The shorts may be feeling some pain at current price levels and could help drive this market higher in the near term.
Turning to the chart, WWE was in an uptrend and is now super-charged. This stock is up 15% in the wake of the report and looks like it will return to the 2018 highs. If Mr. McMahon can achieve his goals, this stock could set a new high. If not, investors should brace for increased volatility and perhaps be ready for that.