NBCUniversal CEO comments on a potential WWE acquisition

Who could potentially buy WWE in 2023?

Could WWE be sold to Comcast's NBCUniversal at some point in 2023?

Earlier this month, Vince McMahon returned to the company in an effort to lead sales talks in the first half of 2023. Potential buyers such as Disney and NBCUniversal, who currently airs RAW and NXT on the USA Network, are two of the most popular choices online at the moment.

Today's NBCUniversal Post-Earnings Conference call was covered by Deadline as the company was asked a variety of different questions. One of the most intriguing ones was asked to NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell regarding potentially buying WWE this year as the company prepares to sell in the first half of the year.

“We are always looking for bolt-on acquisitions that bolster our businesses," Jeff Shell said. "Two examples: We bought DreamWorks [Animation]… and it has been paying off steadily since our acquisition. Just now, with Puss In Boots [The Last Wish], which is a big hit at the box office and really our entrance back into the Shrek universe, continues to make that acquisition look really favorable.”

While Shell didn't mention WWE directly by name in his response, it was certainly an interesting answer.

NBCU executives Mike Cavanaugh and Jeff Shell in analyst Q&A responding broadly to a question this morning in their earnings call about acquisitions. They don't mention WWE though the question did.

Is WWE a big reason for the recent success of Peacock?

Peacock became the new home of the WWE Network in the United States in 2021.

It was announced today that Peacock had surpassed 20 million subscribers.

While they aren't the sole reason for this increase, it's abundantly clear that WWE content airing on Peacock has helped grow the overall subscriber base for the streaming platform. Shell is confident they picked the right business model with Peacock, and their investment has led to growth over time.

“It’s very clear that we picked the right business model given where we are,” Jeff Shell said. “We wouldn’t be investing in Peacock if we didn’t think it was going to return the segment to growth over time. … could not be more positive about our trajectory. We’re right where we expected to be in terms of investment and we’re well above where we expected to be as far as paid subs, which is going to pay off.”
NBCUniversal And Comcast Execs “More Confident” Than They Were A Year Ago In Peacock Profit Outlook, Jeff Shell Says…

What do you make of Jeff Shell's comments? Do you think NBCUniversal could make a play to purchase World Wrestling Entertainment ahead of their television negotiations rights later this year? Let us know your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below.

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Edited by Jacob Terrell
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