Vince McMahon attends a press conference to announce that WWE Wrestlemania 29 will be held in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Michael N Todaro | Getty Images
Vince McMahon is making a comeback at World Wrestling EntertainmentMonths after he retired from the company over a sexual misconduct scandal.
Shares of the company rose 10% hours after McMahon’s announcement on Thursday.
McMahon, the company’s controlling shareholder, said he elected himself executive chairman of the company and brought with him two former WWE co-presidents and board members, Michelle Wilson and George Barrios.
The board initially pushed back McMahon’s attempted return, along with Wilson and Barrios, which The Wall Street Journal said would force three current board members out of their positions.
McMahon said his return was necessary as the company prepared to negotiate media rights and strategic alternatives. WWE, which is known as a media company, was named as a potential takeover target.
“The only way for WWE to take full advantage of this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and assist the management team in negotiating our media rights and combine this with a review of strategic alternatives,” McMahon said in his announcement. “My return will allow WWE, as well as all transaction counterparties, to participate in these processes knowing that they will have the support of the controlling shareholder.”
A WWE spokesman did not immediately comment on the matter to CNBC.
McMahon retired last year amid an investigation into the former CEO’s payments related to allegations of sexual misconduct. A special committee investigation found that McMahon paid nearly $15 million to four women over the course of 16 years to silence allegations of sexual misconduct.
However, since McMahon is the company’s largest shareholder, he retained a great deal of power. His daughter Stephanie McMahon and former company president Nick Khan became co-CEOs after his retirement. Vince McMahon had also passed creative control to his son-in-law, Paul Levesque, a former wrestler known as Triple H.
“Mr. McMahon can effectively exercise control over our affairs,” the company said in a November regulatory filing.
– CNBC’s Lillian Rizzo contributed to this report.