*Yep, I’d say this would qualify as a true sh*t just got real moment, wouldn’t you? To lose $350 million dollars of your bankroll in a single day? Ah hell no! But that’s what happened to WWE chairman Vince McMahon, who found himself out of all that dough when the market closed on Friday and shares in his WWE took a severe beat down from investors.
The stock was down more than 40% when the market opened. In fact, the stock, which had closed just below $20 on Thursday, opened below $11. That immediately knocked McMahon out of the coveted billionaire ranks, placing his net worth now at an estimated $750 million.
It all went down when the stock plummeted following news that WWE had signed a new television deal with NBCUniversal for less than some investors had hoped. Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey estimated WWE got a 50% raise over its last TV agreement, but he expected the new deal to pay WWE double or triple its previous one.
“The company’s valuation could take a heavy beating this morning, as the new domestic TV deal with NBCUniversal likely disappointed investors,” he wrote in a report downgrading the price target for the company’s stock from $29.12 to $19.96.
WWE executives kept an even tone but offered little additional guidance.
“We never commented publicly on the expectation,” said George Barrios, chief strategy and financial officer. “We said we were undervalued by the math that we had done.”
The new TV deal hit at a turbulent time for WWE and McMahon. The company’s shares shot up 89% in the first three months of 2014, and McMahon’s net worth peaked in mid-March at $1.6 billion. But shares dropped 29% the week after WWE announced its new online streaming network had only 667,000 subscribers, taking a $325 million chunk out of McMahon’s fortune.
He remained a billionaire until this morning.
Some investors saw the trouble coming. Intrepid Capital Management, once WWE’s largest outside investor, sold its 10% stake in January. Intrepid’s Jayme Wiggins told Forbes in a feature story on McMahon that he thought the billionaire was getting too excited about his new online streaming network.
McMahon became a billionaire for the first time in 2000, still holding onto a huge stake in the company. But WWE stock dropped a year later and didn’t recover that ground until January of this year, about 13 years or so later, when McMahon—who owns 52% today—rejoined the billionaire ranks. Now he’s down and out once again.
Thanks to EbenGregory.com for this story and the sorry-to-make-light-of-your-obvious-pain dude visual display below showing how McMahon probably received the news: