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WWF goes public - Aug. 3, 1999

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News > Companies WWF pins IPO August 3, 1999: 3:51 p.m. ET

Wrestling empire to offer $172.5M of stock in initial public offering
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. body slammed Wall Street Tuesday with its long-awaited initial public offering.
     The Stamford, Conn.-based wrestling empire, home to such personalities as Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Blue Meanie and the Undertaker, will offer $172.5 million of stock in the IPO at a per-share price to be disclosed later.
    
WWF's Blue Meanie
     According to the prospectus, the WWF had revenue of $251.5 million and net income of $56 million in fiscal 1999. That compares with $126 million in revenue and an $8.5 million profit the previous year.
     Once the offering is closed, Chairman Vince McMahon, who co-founded the company, will receive an annual base salary of $1 million and a performance bonus of up to 100 percent of that salary. Chief Executive Linda McMahon, Vince McMahon's wife, will receive $750,000, also with a 100 percent performance bonus.
     In the prospectus the WWF names World Championship Wrestling, a unit of Time Warner Inc. (TWX), the parent company of CNNfn, as its primary competition.
    
WWF's Stone Cold Steve Austin
     "We compete with WCW in all aspects of our business, including viewership, access to arenas, the sale and licensing of branded merchandise and distribution channels for our televised programs" the prospectus said.
     In May, shortly after denying a report that it was considering an IPO, the WWF was rocked by the death of Owen Hart, a wrestler who was killed while attempting a stunt at Kemper Arena in Kansas City.
     On its Web site, the WWF said the Kansas City District Attorney's office would not be issuing any criminal indictments in connection with the case and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had closed its investigation of the accident.
     The stock will trade under the ticker symbol WWFE on the Nasdaq, and Bear Stearns & Co. will be the lead underwriter.
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