World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Chairman Vince McMahon is introduced during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images
Vince McMahon has pinned down a two-year employment contract at World Wrestling Entertainment.
The WWE chairman’s agreement dates back to Jan. 9, when he returned to the company, according to a securities filing. His deal comes as WWE has been actively in talks with suitors.
As part of his latest contract, which comes with an annual base salary of $1.2 million, which includes an incentive bonus target of 175% of that salary. If a deal were to be closed, McMahon would receive a $2.4 million lump sum payout, plus his incentive bonus would be doubled and paid upfront.
CEO Nick Khan told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan this week it’s been a robust sale process so far with many attracted bidders. Earlier in the week, CNBC’s David Faber, citing people familiar with the matter, reported it’s been a “hot and heavy” process.
McMahon returned to WWE’s board in January help with the sale negotiations. He had stepped away from his CEO role last June under a cloud of accusations of sexual misconduct from former female WWE employees. Later, he announced his retirement.
At the time, his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, had taken over as co-CEO of WWE, a family business for the McMahons. She stepped down in January following Vince McMahon’s return.
Last month, Khan told CNBC that McMahon would be open to stepping down from his position “if it’s the right deal.” The potential future involvement of McMahon, who is WWE’s controlling shareholder, has become an early sticking point in preliminary talks with some buyers, CNBC previously reported.
“Vince made it clear to me and to the marketplace that he does not need to be included in any offer or any deal moving forward, and he has held to his word on that as many of us predicted he would,” Khan said on CNBC earlier this week.
Khan added that since McMahon has been back in the last three months, he’s been “quite supplemental to myself, to creative, to have the expert of the business here when we want to reach out to him and have conversations.”
In addition, his contract gives McMahon the rights to his “life story” and related intellectual property, according to the filing.
McMahon acquired the business from his father in 1982 and had run it up until 2022. He’s even stepped into the ring on numerous occasions. His contract agreement gives him the rights to retell his life story with WWE, with the guarantee that he wouldn’t face any lawsuits or retribution from the business in the future.
WWE shares are up about 34% so far this year, easily outpacing the broader market, amid the intensifying sale talk.