The New York law firm Bernstein Liebhard is filing a class action lawsuit against WWE, claiming the Stamford-headquartered company misled investors with incorrect statements regarding its business operations in Saudi Arabia.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and alleged the company ran afoul of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The chief complaint in the litigation focused on WWE’s dealings with Saudi Arabia’s OSN television channel. The lawsuit accused WWE of misrepresenting its ties to OSN by incorrectly claiming it had the ability to expand its presence in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle Eastern market.
Instead, the lawsuit stated, the Saudi government “withheld tens of millions of dollars in payments owed to WWE” and “temporarily refused to allow several WWE wrestlers to leave the country in what was later described as akin to a hostage situation, under the pretense of mechanical airplane issues” after WWE cut a live broadcast feed from the country.
Bernstein Liebhard added the Jan. 30 ouster of WWE co-Presidents George A. Barrios and Michelle D. Wilson and the “disappointing financial performance” in the Feb. 6 earnings report were due to WWE misrepresenting its Saudi business dealings. The law firm said that its litigation will cover investors that bought or acquired WWE securities between Feb. 7, 2019, and Feb. 5, 2020.