Linda McMahon owns a relatively small portion of WWE stock today. According to the latest SEC filing regarding her ownership, she holds 566,670 shares, which amounts to 0.7% of the overall company and 1.4% of voting power.
McMahon, who will be nominated to Donald Trump’s cabinet as administrator of Small Business Administration, formerly co-owned with her husband WWE CEO Vince McMahon a trust which held at most 8,500,000 shares of WWE. The remaining 3.7 million shares that were in the trust at the start of 2016 were liquidated in two installments in May and August, for a total sale of $66,061,478.
Linda McMahon’s ownership in the company is now only barely above that of Chief Financial and Marketing Officer George Barrios, who holds the most shares among non-family member corporate executives.
WWE's Chief Brand Officer and daughter of Vince and Linda, Stephanie McMahon-Levesque holds 2.5% of the company stock and 4.5% of voting power.
Almost all shares held by McMahon family members are "class B" shares, which only they can hold. That classification gives their shares ten times the voting power of the rest of the stock ("class A" common stock).
Vince and Linda's son Shane McMahon appears to hold little or no company stock. WWE's annual report for year ended 2009 mentioned Shane had "indicated an interest in a sale or sales of all or a substantial portion" of the WWE stock he owned at that time. Shane still held 1.5 million shares, or about 2% of all shares and 5% of voting power as recently as December 31, 2013. Almost all of Shane's stock consisted of class B shares. WWE reported at the end of 2015 that there are 41,688,704 class B shares, in total, which is the exact sum of the class B shares at that time held by Vince, Linda and Stephanie. This implies Shane holds no more B shares. Shane also held 41,811 class A shares (alone worth .05% of WWE) as of the 2013 SEC filing. It's unclear whether those shares were disposed of also. It's plausible Shane used some of the money gained from liquidating WWE stock to contribute to You On Demand, a business he's been involved with since his exit from WWE in 2010.
Vince still has controlling interest in WWE, despite owning less than 50% of the stock. Again, Vince's class B shares give him ten times the voting power of non-family member shareholders. All of Vince's known shares are class B shares. All but 100 of Linda's are class B. The vast majority of shares belonging to Stephanie are class B.
In fact, Vince could sell a large portion of his shares and still maintain control of WWE. He could sell about 15 million shares of his stock (today valued at roughly $296 million), and leave himself with about 22 million shares and still have 51% of the company’s voting power.
“We’re open to anything,” Vince said before expressing some apprehension. “I think controlling your own destiny is so important. I don’t know how much you lose control of that by being sold.”
Thanks to Chris Harrington for contributing to the research for this article.
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