WWE chairman Vince McMahon sold more than three million shares of WWE stock on Wednesday with the goal of using the proceeds to fund his upcoming football league, according to the company’s SEC filing.
McMahon offloaded 3,204,427 shares in the company at $84.87 each, meaning the sale netted him just under $272 million.
The SEC filing says McMahon plans to invest the money in another company, Alpha Entertainment, which he created in 2017 when he began planning the relaunch of the XFL.
“The shares sold by Mr. McMahon represent approximately 4.1% of the Company’s total outstanding shares of Class A and Class B common stock,” the filing reads. “After the sale, Mr. McMahon beneficially owns 28,682,948 shares of the Company’s Class B common stock, which represents approximately 80.1% of the Company’s total voting power and approximately 36.8% of the Company’s total outstanding shares of common stock.”
WWE stock dropped 1% after the close of Wednesday’s trading and rallied when the market opened Thursday before falling again later in the morning. Stock prices increased 144% in 2018 after WWE signed a new five-year contract worth more than $1 billion with Fox for the broadcast rights to SmackDown Live. Traders expect the stock to rise even higher this year when WWE signs new broadcast deals in India and the United Kingdom, according to Reuters.
The new football league plans to launch in February 2020 with games the weekend after the Super Bowl. It will not feature the same wrestling-inspired gimmicks as the short-lived original XFL. The league’s eight teams (seven of which are in NFL markets) will play a 10-week schedule and several have already announced coaching and front-office hires.