WWE has taken a huge hit since Thursday, when news of a multi-year deal with NBCUniversal was announced.
The Stamford-based entertainment company watched its stock drop 50 percent in early trading today, according to the Hartford Courant. At the close of trading today, WWE’s stock fell $8.66, or 43.45 percent, to $11.27.
The company also announced that it will require over 1.3 to 1.4 million subscribers for its online WWE Network to offset the loss of its pay-per-view customers to the network. The Network, which launched in February, finished the first quarter with nearly 670,000 subscribers, according to Bloomberg news.
WWE’s chief financial officer George Barrios told Bloomberg News on Friday that the company is striving to reach 1 million subscribers by the end of the year, but did not comment on the stock price.
“With the favorable renegotiation of our largest television agreements, WWE transitions to a subscription-based business model for future growth,” Barrios said in a statement. “Successful execution of our WWE Network strategy could significantly raise the Company’s earnings profile and better reflect WWE’s tremendous global appeal and brand strength. With such execution, the Company anticipates sufficient financial resources, including debt capacity, to fund growth, support ongoing business requirements and maintain its current dividend.”
As WWE’s stock fell, chairman and CEO Vince McMahon saw his personal wealth take a severe hit as well. According to Forbes, McMahon lost $340 million by 3 p.m. today, lowering his net worth to $760 million and bumping him out of the billionaire ranks.