The guessing game on interested parties in purchasing TNA Wrestling has been a fun ride but I’d imagine most of us are ready for some type of clarity.
Names have been bandied about including Jeff Jarrett, Eric Bischoff, Spike/Viacom and even Smashing Pumpkin’s lead-man and current Resistance Pro Wrestling owner Billy Corgan.
I’ve always been of the belief that it won’t be an individual name that purchases the company, none of the individuals that come to mind have enough capital to handle either the purchase of the company (the price of which I detailed here) or maintain costs throughout the life of TNA. Instead, a media company, television station or a venture capital group will have to step up to purchase the company.
Spike/Viacom seem like a logical option given their stake in TNA’s fortunes and their recent purchase of Bellator but Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer tried to shed some light on what he’s hearing:
As for a potential buyer for TNA, the one company that I have heard that is interested is located outside of the U.S., but has strong ties to television domestically.
This is an interesting development and explodes the list number of potential suitors. One company was brought up by friend of the website and forum legend Rovert: Endemol.
First you’re hearing of Endemol? Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of them until I looked at their portfolio and I’ll say this — they fit the bill to a tee.
Endemol is an international television production and distribution company based out of the Netherlands.
The company touts themselves as the largest independent television and digital production company in the world. Their biggest shows domestically are Big Brother, Deal or No Deal, Wipeout, The Money Drop and Hot in Cleveland. In total, Endemol produces over 350 series across multiple genres and works with roughly 400 broadcasters, digital platforms and licensees worldwide.
Why would they be interested in TNA? Well for one, they’ve worked with TNA previously. Endemol’s India branch teamed with TNA in 2011 to produce a pro wrestling series “Ring Ka King” which aired in India on the Colors Network.
Jeff Jarrett headed up the venture alongside current TNA writer Dave Lagana, Sonjay Dutt and Jeremy Borash. The format was similar to a standard American professional wrestling show and utilized Indian and American wrestlers including Matt Morgan, Scott Steiner, Abyss and Zema Ion. “Ring Ka King” only lasted one season for a total of 26 episodes but by all accounts an entertaining show.
Fast forward to today and Endemol, whether the parent company or perhaps the India branch seems like a great guess for the mystery interested party in the rumors about TNA’s sale. They certainly have a more solid base than any other of the rumored names outside of Spike/Viacom.
Not only do they have a working relationship with TNA, but they’ve worked with Jarrett in the past. Jarrett has resumed much of the power in TNA with the news that Bischoff was sent home making the transition, if Endemol was to purchase relatively seamless (provided they would want Jarrett on top).
From a financial standpoint, they make the most sense given the other names rumored are all individuals without (to our knowledge) venture capital behind them. Perhaps when we hear the name “Jeff Jarrett” we should assume he has money behind him similar to Eric Bischoff and Fusient Media Ventures in 2000-2001 but that hasn’t been confirmed or denied.
With Endemol, it’s clear. They are a conglomerate with strong financial backing, their owner John de Mol is worth an estimated $2.2 billion according to Forbes. I’m having trouble finding an exact figure on Endemol’s total valuation but it’s safe to say they have probably doing okay.
Either way, Endemol is an interesting name in this rumor mill. We have no idea and really, no evidence that they are a player but it would make sense given the trickle of news we’ve received on the topic.