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Finally! The Rock purchases remnants of the XFL

LOS ANGELES — Finally, The Rock has come back to the world of professional football.
Dwayne Johnson, the World Wrestling Entertainment legend turned Hollywood megastar, is part of a group that will purchase the assets of the defunct XFL for $15 million, it was announced Monday.

Johnson, his business partner Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners were the winning bidders for the assets of Alpha Entertainment LLC, the parent company of the XFL.

The XFL was scheduled to go to a bankruptcy auction this week. The transaction is subject to bankruptcy court approval at a hearing on Friday. Assuming that closing conditions are satisfied, it is expected to close on or shortly after Aug. 21.

“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things — my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson said in a statement. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”

The original XFL was launched in 2001, but folded after only one season. WWE owner Vince McMahon launched a second iteration of the league in 2018 and started play this spring. The new XFL received generally positive reviews, but had to suspend operations halfway through the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It shut down soon after.

The XFL filed for bankruptcy and put itself up for sale in April. At the time of the filing, the league listed assets valued at between $10 million and $50 million, and liabilities also between $10 million and $50 million, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

In a release announcing its purchase of the XFL, Johnson’s ownership group did not make clear whether it plans to bring the league back for a third time, or use the name for other entertainment projects such as movies and documentaries.

“Through this acquisition, the group secures the ability to option live entertainment intellectual property for further expansion across sports, live events and original entertainment programming,” the ownership group said in its statement.

Johnson played college football at the University of Miami and in the Canadian Football League. He was cut by the Calgary Stampeders during his first season with the team, and signed with the WWE in 1996.

Johnson soon became one of pro wrestling’s biggest stars. He retired as a full-time wrestler in 2004, but just as quickly became one of Hollywood’s biggest action movie stars. He has appeared in 40 movies that have grossed more than $10 billion worldwide.

Garcia and Johnson are co-founders of Seven Bucks Companies, a multi-platform production company.

“We are grateful for today’s outcome,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and COO. “This is a Hollywood ending to our sale process and it is an exciting new chapter for the league. Dwayne, Dany and Gerry are a dream team ownership group and the XFL is in the best possible hands going forward.”