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WWE Might Be Interested In Buying Indy Competitor Ring Of Honor To Beef Up Network Programming

WWE Might Be Interested In Buying Indy Competitor Ring Of Honor To Beef Up Network Programming

Pro Wrestling Sheet has reported World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) is in talks with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (NASDAQ: SBGI) to potentially acquire Sinclair’s Ring of Honor (ROH) professional wrestling promotion.

Pro Wresting Sheet cites “multiple sources with direct knowledge,” and says WWE has been attempting to keep the discussions a secret.

According to the report, WWE would air the ROH weekly television show on the WWE Network. Representatives from WWE could not be reached for comment at time of publication.

Pro Wrestling Sheet notes there is no official deal on the table at this time, and there have been plenty of M&A rumors about WWE in the past that didn’t come true.

Earlier this year, WWE was reportedly interested in a buyout of TNA Wrestling, but a deal never took place.

In addition, WWE CEO Vince McMahon was rumored to be interested in a ROH acquisition back in 2015.

At the time, Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that McMahon was looking to acquire talent to help build WWE’s NXT brand. Weekly NXT shows currently air exclusively on the WWE Network.

All About WWE Network Subscribers

Indeed Wrestling’s Chris Harrington tells Benzinga the deal may be all about the WWE Network subscriber count.

“As WWE has beefed up their analytics department this year, it’s possible they believe that acquiring this sort of footage would have a value on WWE Network when it comes to either new subscriber acquisition or subscriber retention,” Harrington explains. “It’s hard to say whether that calculus would really drive this entire deal."

See Also: Dana White Enters Vince McMahon's Territory: Does He Have A Chance In Hell?

Harrington also says the potential cost of the acquisition would likely not be difficult for WWE to manage from a financial standpoint.

“Would a ROH purchase impact their ability to deliver on their OIBDA goals for 2017? Honestly, I might have wondered that had WWE not borrowed $200 million in December for the not-clearly-defined goal of ‘long-term strategic business planning,’” Harrington tells Benzinga.

Anniversary Of WCW Purchase

Ironically, March 23 marks the 16-year anniversary of WWE's buyout of 20-year rival World Championship Wrestling from AOL Time Warner back in 2001.

WWE’s stock has had some wild swings in recent months, trading from around $15 in early 2016 to above $21 by September. The stock then dipped back down to under $16.50 in November before reversing direction again and peaking at $23 in February.

Image: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Flickr

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