Vince McMahon's fortunes have been thrown off the top of a steel cage. In a precipitous stock plummet, McMahon has lost a stunning $750 million in the past two months, punctuated by a single-day loss of $350 million earlier this month.
WWE's shares had ascended in the early months of 2014, gaining 89 percent in value. That helped McMahon amass a fortune on paper of $1.6 billion in mid-March. But a variety of negative factors chopped away at that valuation. WWE's new online streaming network has picked up only an estimated 700,000 subscribers, and WWE conceded that it could lose as much as $52 million this year. That announcement cost McMahon another $325 million in March.
One of the key downward forces was the announcement of a new TV deal between the WWE and NBCUniversal. Analysts estimated the $150 million deal was a 50 percent increase from the previous agreement, but had expected the deal to be double or even triple the prior one. The announcement of that agreement forced WWE's share price from a high of about $20 to the $11 range, where it remains to this day.
The irony, of course, is that TV deals were how McMahon built his empire. As Forbes notes, his pay-per-view broadcasts put WWE into American households and made stars out of its wrestlers.
- Vince McMahon