For the third time this year, WWE has declared a stock dividend that will pay investors, including Vince McMahon, enough money to have paid all of the dozens of workers WWE laid off at the start of the pandemic citing cost-cutting concerns. Despite posting record profits this year and bragging at the time of half a billion in cash to weather the pandemic, WWE nevertheless laid off or furloughed dozens of workers right at the worst possible time for them. WWE announced the first quarterly dividend the same week it finished with the layoffs, following up with a second dividend in July. Now it seems the third quarter dividend will also pay $0.12 per share, or roughly $9.3 million. Based on his shares of ownership, McMahon himself is entitled to a third of the dividend.
Here's WWE's latest press release announcing the dividend:
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– WWE (NYSE: WWE) announced that its Board of Directors today declared the Company's regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share for all Class A and B shares of common stock. The record date for the dividend will be December 15, 2020 and the payment date will be December 28, 2020.
If you're wondering how we got to the figure we did above, as well as the understanding that it could fund those laid-off employees for a year, here's the math we did the first time around, back in April, based on a report from Dave Meltzer that the total savings per month for laid-off employees was around $703,000.
WWE's stock dividend paid to all shareholders of both Class A and Class B stock is $.12 per share, according to the press release, which says the company's "Board of Directors today declared the Company's regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share for all Class A and B shares of common stock." The record date for the dividend will be June 15, 2020 and the payment date will be June 25, 2020. Class B WWE stock is a special version of the stock reserved for the McMahon family only which includes ten times the voting power as Class A stock. Class B stock is automatically converted to Class A stock when sold by a McMahon. The last WWE filing available on their website that lists the total number of shares was made in 2019, and listed 43,739,412 shares of Class A common stock and 34,303,438 shares of Class B common stock outstanding. Vince McMahon himself, after selling 3.2 million shares of Class B stock to fund the XFL in 2019, retained 28.7 million shares of Class B stock and 80 thousand shares of Class A stock.
So what does that mean? It means that WWE paid out 12 cents per share in dividend to the owners of roughly 78 million shares. That's a grand total of about $9.4 million paid out to shareholders. Vince McMahon himself would be entitled to roughly $3.5 million of that based on his last known share total. The $3.5 million paid to Vince McMahon alone could have funded the laid off staff at Meltzer's rate for over five months. The total dividend amount could have paid them until April of 2021.
So now, with the third quarterly dividend paying roughly the same amount, that's three years worth of compensation that could have kept people working rather than lining the pockets of already-rich investors. Oh well. At least Vince still has enough money to donate to Donald Trump's reelection campaign.