WWE's stock smackdown is a blow to Vince McMahon's credibility

|By:, SA News Editor

World Wrestling (WWE) shares plunged 43% Friday after CEO Vince McMahon failed to wring a huge increase in TV fees from NBCUniversal, raising questions about WWE's future and highlighting a shortcoming in McMahon's leadership style: While an unbeatable promoter, he has at times struggled to master corporate negotiations and dealings with Wall Street.

McMahon took the TV negotiations personally: He played hardball in talks with NBCUniversal, demanding to more than double the value of their previous ~$100M deal, but he wound up renewing the deal with an increase analysts estimate at 50% - nice, but well short of what Wall Street had come to expect, and what McMahon may have bragged he would get.

"The bottom line is no other entities were willing to pay a higher price tag for the programming than its current partner.” analyst Daniel Moore says.

Despite being short WWE two months ago, Lemelson Capital is now long WWE and calling for the board to replace the management team or explore a sale of the company.