WWE’s smaller rival AEW interested in merger, sources say

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WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a press conference announcing the WWE Network at the International CES 2014 in Las Vegas.

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All Elite Wrestling, a professional wrestling league owned by the Khan family, is interested in a merger World wrestling entertainmentpeople familiar with the matter said.

The Khans, who also own the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars and the Premier League’s Fulham FC, could team up with a strategic media company to share the intellectual property while merging the wrestling leagues, said the people, who asked not to be mentioned because the discussions are private. AEW has a TV transport rights agreement with Warner Bros. DiscoveryTNT and TBS.

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The idea that Vince McMahon, WWE’s controlling shareholder, would merge his company with the much smaller AEW is a gamble. AEW has not had any conversations with McMahon or Nick Khan, the company’s CEO, the people said. McMahon may see selling to the Khans as a non-starter.

The Khans are open to discussing a possible role for McMahon, 77, following a sale, but have not had those talks yet, one of the people said. It’s unclear what kind of job McMahon would want after a sale at WWE, but WWE is a much larger and more established organization than AEW. McMahon, who was worth more than $3 billion as of July, is also known as the main creative force behind WWE’s storylines.

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Sports magnate Shahid Khan, 72, is ranked 292 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $7.56 billion. He also owns auto parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate.

Shahid Khan, the new owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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The WWE sales process