Vince McMahon ready to leave WWE if he sells the company, CEO says

World Wrestling According to WWE CEO Nick Hahn, executive chairman Vince McMahon is ready to step down from the company “if it’s the right thing to do.”

The company’s shares closed on Friday more than 5% higher.

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McMahon’s potential future WWE involvement has been a sticking point in pre-negotiations with various buyers, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

McMahon is the majority shareholder of WWE. He spent decades developing creative storylines for the professional wrestling league, often taking part in the storytelling himself. Earlier this year, he stepped down as creative director, handing over the reins to his son-in-law, former WWE Superstar Paul “Triple H” Levesque. Khan became sole CEO in January when Levesque’s wife and McMahon’s daughter Stephanie stepped down as co-CEO.

“Vince has told the board of directors that he is 100% open to deals where he is not involved in the development of the company,” Khan said in an interview with CNBC on Friday.

Vince McMahon at a press conference at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Michael N. Todaro | Getty Images

McMahon resigned as CEO in June following allegations of sexual harassment by former WWE employees. A month later, he announced that he was leaving the wrestling company he bought from his father over four decades ago. However, last month McMahon returned to the board be directly involved in sales negotiations with potential buyers.

WWE hired financial advisors to continue the sale process, which Khan predicted would take about three months. Khan stressed that WWE could be attractive to a major media company with a streaming platform that could increase subscriber numbers through exclusive ownership of WWE’s monthly live streams as well as its historical library of past matches.

“We feel the market is strong for our product,” Khan said. “In fact, this is its own sports league. Someone can buy it and host it on their platform.”

Potential WWE buyers include Comcast, Netflix, Liberty Media And Trywhich already owns the UFC.

Khan admitted that it was “hard to get control” of McMahon, who has owned and operated the WWE (formerly the WWF) for over 40 years. However, he reiterated that McMahon would prioritize shareholder value and back off “if it’s the right deal – and we’ll look at all the factors that make it the right one.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal, which owns CNBC.

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