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Stockholders Sue WWE Over Deal With Saudi Arabia

Vince McMahon WWF WWE Crown Jewel 2019

• ON THIS DAY IN WRESTLING HISTORY (March 7, 1987) – AJPW TV

On this day in 1987, Giant Baba’s All Japan Pro Wrestling aired an episode of their weekly TV Show.

The show featured pre-taped matches & storyline segments featuring several AJPW Wrestlers.

It was taped at the Akita Prefectural Gymnasium in Akita, Japan earlier on the same day.

Here’s the card:

1) Ashura Hara & Hiro Saito vs Tiger Mask & Masa Fuchi

2) Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs Terry Gordy & Art Crews

3) The Road Warriors vs. Giant Baba & Hiroshi Wajima

4) NWA World Title: Ric Flair vs. Yoshiaki Yatsu

You can now watch the entire episode, thanks to our great member Roy Lucier:

• Stockholders Sue WWE Over Deal With Saudi Arabia

According to Business Wire, The Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP have announced a class action lawsuit against WWE from stockholders:

“The World Wrestling Entm’t securities class action lawsuit charges WWE and certain of its senior executives with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. WWE is an integrated media and entertainment company primarily known for its scripted professional wrestling shows.

In recent years, WWE has entered into important strategic relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including a multi-year television distribution rights agreement with the Orbit Showcase Network (“OSN”), a Saudi-controlled direct broadcast satellite provider, and a 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority to host live events in Saudi Arabia.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding WWE’s business and operations.

Specifically, defendants failed to disclose that WWE was experiencing rising tension with the Saudi government and a breakdown in negotiations over a renewed broadcasting distribution deal; that the Saudi government and its affiliates had failed to make millions of dollars in payments owed to WWE pursuant to existing contractual commitments between the parties; that OSN had terminated the broadcast of WWE programming in the first quarter of 2019, despite a contractual obligation to continue such broadcasts, and that this cancellation was symptomatic of a deterioration in the business relationship between the parties; that OSN had rebuffed efforts to renew a distribution rights agreement on terms acceptable to WWE; and that WWE did not have the ability to expand its operations in the Middle East or within Saudi Arabia as had been represented to investors.

The problems with WWE’s relationship with the Saudis began to be revealed in a series of partial disclosures. On April 25, 2019, the Company disclosed disappointing financial results and fiscal guidance, which several analysts connected to potential hiccups in the Company’s dealings with the Saudis.

On October 31, 2019, in connection with the release of the Company’s third quarter 2019 financial results, WWE revealed significant underperformance across key metrics and revealed that the media rights deal had been indefinitely delayed. Around this same time, it was reported that the Saudi government had withheld tens of millions of dollars in payments owed to WWE. The dispute continued to escalate, culminating in a decision by WWE to cut a broadcasting feed of a live event held in the country.

In retaliation, the Saudi government temporarily refused to allow several WWE wrestlers to leave the country in what was later described as akin to a “hostage situation” under the pretense of mechanical airplane issues.

Then, on January 30, 2020, WWE revealed that two of its longest serving senior executives – defendants George A. Barrios and Michelle D. Wilson – had been ousted. Shortly thereafter, on February 6, 2020, WWE again disclosed disappointing financial performance due to its failure to secure a favorable broadcasting deal with the Saudis and revealed that the Saudi media rights deal would not be included in the Company’s financial forecasting.

As a result of these disclosures, the price of WWE Class A common stock plummeted from a Class Period high of more than $100 per share to as low as $40.24 per share on February 6, 2020, representing a 60% share price decline.”

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