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March 7, 2021 - The The court preliminarily approved the settlement.
December 22, 2020 - A stipulation of settlement was filed by the parties.
August 6, 2020 - The court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss.
June 26, 2020 - A motion to dismiss the consolidated amended complaint was filed.
June 8, 2020 - A consolidated amended complaint was filed.
March 6, 2020 - An investor in shares of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York over alleged violations of Federal Securities Laws by World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. in connection with certain allegedly false and misleading statements made between February 7, 2019 and February 5, 2020.
Stamford, CT based World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., an integrated media and entertainment company, engages in the sports entertainment business in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific, and Latin America. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. reported that its annual Total Revenue rose from $800.95 million in 2017 to $930.16 million in 2018 and that its Net Income increased from $32.64 million in 2017 to $99.58 million in 2018. In recent years, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. has entered into important strategic relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including a multi-year television distribution rights agreement with the Orbit Showcase Network (“OSN”), a Saudi-controlled direct broadcast satellite provider, and a 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority to host live events in Saudi Arabia.
On April 25, 2019, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. disclosed disappointing financial results and fiscal guidance, which several analysts connected to potential hiccups in the Company’s dealings with the Saudis.
On October 31, 2019, in connection with the release of the Company’s third quarter 2019 financial results, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. revealed significant underperformance across key metrics and revealed that the media rights deal had been indefinitely delayed. Around this same time, it was reported that the Saudi government had withheld tens of millions of dollars in payments owed to WWE. The dispute continued to escalate, culminating in a decision by WWE to cut a broadcasting feed of a live event held in the country. In retaliation, the Saudi government temporarily refused to allow several WWE wrestlers to leave the country in what was later described as akin to a “hostage situation” under the pretense of mechanical airplane issues.
Then, on January 30, 2020, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. revealed that two of its longest serving senior executives had been ousted. On February 6, 2020, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. disclosed disappointing financial performance due to its failure to secure a favorable broadcasting deal with the Saudis and revealed that the Saudi media rights deal would not be included in the Company’s financial forecasting According to the complaint the plaintiff alleges on behalf of purchasers of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) common shares between February 7, 2019 and February 5, 2020, that the defendants violated Federal Securities Laws. More specifically, the plaintiff claims that between February 7, 2019 and February 5, 2020, the defendants failed to disclose that WWE was experiencing rising tension with the Saudi government and a breakdown in negotiations over a renewed broadcasting distribution deal; that the Saudi government and its affiliates had failed to make millions of dollars in payments owed to WWE pursuant to existing contractual commitments between the parties; that OSN had terminated the broadcast of WWE programming in the first quarter of 2019, despite a contractual obligation to continue such broadcasts, and that this cancellation was symptomatic of a deterioration in the business relationship between the parties; that OSN had rebuffed efforts to renew a distribution rights agreement on terms acceptable to WWE; and that WWE did not have the ability to expand its operations in the Middle East or within Saudi Arabia as had been represented to investors. Shares of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) declined from $100.10 per share in April 2019 to as low as $40.24 per share on February 6, 2020, respectively $31.05 per share on March 13, 2020.