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WWE, Investors Win Final Court Approval for $39 Million Deal

July 2, 2021, 3:39 PM

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and investors who say it misled them about problems with its business ties to Saudi Arabia secured final approval for their $39 million settlement in federal court in New York.

The cash deal represents about 18.2% of estimated classwide damages, the investors told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York when they sought preliminary approval last year. Judge Jed S. Rakoff gave his final sign off to the settlement in an order docketed Thursday.

The professional wrestling group’s investors in 2020 accused WWE of misleading them about the status of media rights deals in Saudi Arabia. Rakoff rejected WWE’s bid to dismiss the suit later that year and preliminarily approved the settlement in March.

The settlement class consists of everyone who acquired WWE common stock from Feb. 7, 2019, through Feb. 5, 2020, and lost money as a result, with exceptions for those with other close ties to the company, Rakoff’s order said. There weren’t any objections to the settlement.

Lead counsel Labaton Sucharow LLP will get $7.02 million—18% of the settlement fund—in attorneys’ fees, Rakoff said in a separate order docketed Thursday. The firm will also get more than $468,000 as reimbursement for litigation expenses.

The pension fund representing the investors as lead plaintiff—Firefighters’ Pension System of the City of Kansas City, Missouri Trust—will get more than $6,200 as reimbursement of its reasonable costs and expenses, Rakoff said.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Day Pitney LLP represented WWE, which didn’t admit any fault.

The case is City of Warren Police & Fire Ret. Sys. v. World Wrestling Entm’t Inc., S.D.N.Y., No. 1:20-cv-02031, orders docketed 7/1/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Bennett in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Patrick L. Gregory at