World Wrestling Entertainment Hits All-Time, But Not in Merger Talks With AMC Networks

Updated from 8:39 a.m. to include information in the eighth paragraph.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Following an intra-day spike in World Wrestling Entertainment  (WWE) shares due to rumors about AMC Networks (AMCX) buying the company, TheStreet has been told by a source close to the situation that the two companies aren't in merger talks.

Around 2 P.M. on Thursday, shares of the Stamford, Conn.-based World Wrestling Entertainment spiked, hitting an intra-day high of $31.98, before settling at $29.75, as rumors that AMC, which houses popular shows such as Mad Men and The Walking Dead, would make a bid for WWE. The bid would value WWE at approximately $2.8 billion. However, this is "just a rumor," according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

Shares of WWE were spiking in early Friday trading, gaining 1.5% to $30.20, while AMC Networks was higher as well, gaining 0.84% to $74.37.

Even if such a deal were to occur, it would be difficult, as WWE CEO Vince McMahon controls the company via Class B shares that have added voting rights, a similar situation to what Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has, as well as Google (GOOG) has with CEO Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin.

WWE is currently in discussions for television negotiation rights fees, for its popular Raw and Smackdown shows, as the company's contract with Comcast (CMCSA) subsidiary NBCUniversal comes to an end. The exclusive negotiation window between WWE and NBCUniversal expired Feb. 15, and WWE is now free to shop its programming elsewhere. NBCUniversal has limited matching rights, and can potentially match any bid for the content, with WWE seeking to try to double or perhaps triple its previous contract.

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