Vince McMahon most all, of course.
Breaking down just how much stock and what portion of WWE voting rights are controlled by whom can be complicated, though.
The confusion is mainly because WWE has two share classes, which is common for many publicly traded companies. Facebook is another company that grants its founder a preferred class of shares that allow the founder-shareholder to possibly sell shares down to a small minority while still maintaining control of the company.
As of today, Vince McMahon holds about one-third of WWE shares, however, he holds the vast majority of voting rights. His class B shares give him 10x voting power over that of class A “common stock”.
Other McMahon family members, Linda and Stephanie, also hold class B stock. Shane McMahon used to hold a large amount of class B shares but appears to have disposed of all his shares by 2014. Only Vince, Linda, and their descendants can hold class B stock. Those privileged shares cannot be sold or transferred to others who are not descendants. When McMahon family members sell stock, those shares are necessarily converted to class A stock.
Despite his marriage to Stephanie, WWE EVP Paul Levesque can only own class A shares, which are awarded to him regularly as part of his compensation.
As a result, voting power actually breaks down as shown in the pie chart below:
Let’s look at who are some of the top WWE stockholders.
- Vince McMahon: WWE’s long-time chief executive, current CEO and chairman of the board of directors. He holds about 38% of shares and 81% of voting power.
- Lindsell Train Limited: The largest institutional owner of WWE shares, owning about 15% of shares and less than 4% of voting power. The U.K.-based firm is majority-owned by founders Nick Train and Michael Lindsell.
- Stephanie McMahon: WWE’s Chief Brand Officer, a member of its board of directors, and Vince’s daughter. She holds about 2.5% of all shares and 5% of voting power. This doesn’t include the shares held by her husband, EVP “Triple H” Paul Levesque. His shares are just a fraction of Stephanie’s.
- Linda E. McMahon: The former WWE president and husband of Vince McMahon holds less than 1% of WWE stock, but those are class B shares. So her voting power accounts for about 1.6% of the total.
- BlackRock, Inc.: Another massive investment corporation that holds stake in thousands of companies. BlackRock holds about 8% of WWE and less than 2% of voting rights. You can buy stock in BlackRock itself on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Vanguard Group: This multinational investment firm is headquartered in Pennsylvania and holds 5.4% of shares and about 1% of voting power. Vanguard holds shares in thousands of companies. Their assets were worth more than $6 trillion in January 2020. Vanguard is the largest provider of mutual funds and the second-largest provider of ETFs, second only to BlackRock.