Updated from 5:43 p.m. to add financial in the eighth paragraph.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) shares fell after the company clinched an agreement with NBCUniversal to bring its popular wrestling shows, Raw and Smackdown, back to the NBC family.
Raw goes back to the USA Network, while Smackdown will run on Syfy. In a press conference at NBC's Upfront presentation, WWE executive Paul "Triple H" Levesque made the announcement, noting that both raw and Smackdown will be returning in a multi-year strategic partnership. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Shares of WWE were falling in after-hours trading, losing 8.5% to $18.25.Following the announcement, WWE said that it expects to potentially double or triple its 2012 OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) to a range of $125 million to $190 million by 2015.2
"We continue to achieve significant increases in the value of our largest television agreements, a key component of our business plan" stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "The rising value of our content coupled with the global expansion of WWE Network will provide the foundation for long-term growth that continues to transform our business over the coming years."
"With the favorable renegotiation of our largest television agreements, WWE transitions to a subscription-based business model for future growth," added George Barrios, Chief Strategy & Financial Officer. "Successful execution of our WWE Network strategy could significantly raise the Company's earnings profile and better reflect WWE's tremendous global appeal and brand strength. With such execution, the Company anticipates sufficient financial resources, including debt capacity, to fund growth, support ongoing business requirements and maintain its current dividend." "USA Network President Chris McCumber, Syfy President Dave Howe and I are incredibly pleased to renew this strategic partnership with WWE," said NBCUniversal Cable Chairman Bonnie Hammer in a separate press release. "In today's TV landscape, live event programming is an extraordinarily valuable asset, and WWE remains the only entertainment franchise that consistently delivers this on a 52-week a year basis. We look forward to bringing WWE's action-packed and unique brand of drama to the wide audiences across our cable networks for many years to come."
"We are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal given their premiere position in the marketplace and vast promotional platforms," McMahon said in the separate release. "We are excited about our future as we further the reach and popularity of our live, family-friendly entertainment programming 52 weeks a year."
Separately, the company noted that Total Divas, a leading reality series about the company's women superstars, or divas, would continued to be broadcast on E!, an NBC-owned network. First reported in The Wrestling Observer, WWE was expected to announce its renewed its longstanding television deal with NBC to bring its popular television shows Raw and Smackdown back to NBC properties. Currently, Raw is televised live on the USA Network, while Smackdown is taped on SyFy on Tuesday, and then airs on Friday. Shares of WWE closed the regular session higher, gaining 3% to $19.93. >> Read More: 20 Greatest WWE Champions of All Time --Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Chris_Ciaccia
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