Vince McMahon, the executive chairman of WWE, could receive a multimillion-dollar payout and the rights to his life story if the company is sold. McMahon’s new employment agreement, which runs for two years, includes a clause about his potential payout in the event of a sale, which is worth at least $11 million. Additionally, McMahon would receive a pro-rata payout of his incentive bonus for the year and all unvested shares would vest, likely delivering a $4.3 million payout if a deal closed this year. McMahon is also the majority shareholder of the company, so his severance package is pocket change compared to what his equity would be worth in a sale.
The clause about McMahon’s « Life Story » is unusual for an employment agreement like this one. McMahon has run the WWE for decades and has long appeared in the ring as a performer, and the agreement guarantees him (and his successors) the right to his own intellectual property, while he gives the company the right to use his IP on a nonexclusive basis. In addition, the company waives any claims « relating to confidentiality, non-disparagement, non-competition, or other restrictive covenant or affirmative undertaking binding on McMahon that results from any content, communication, or action in connection with any exercise of the Life Story Rights and any embodiments thereof. »
While McMahon has not appeared on any WWE programming since returning in January, his contract leaves open the possibility that he could perform on-camera or work on the creative side of the business again, and gives the company full right to those works. McMahon’s new contract is mostly a standard deal, but the clause about his potential payout in the event of a sale is notable, given that his return was precipitated in part by the idea of putting the company on the market.
Keywords: Vince McMahon, WWE, employment agreement, life story, payout, sale, intellectual property.
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