CKX confirms offer for company from `American Idol' creator Simon Fuller
CKX Inc., parent of "American Idol" producer 19 Entertainment, confirmed it has received an offer for the company from an investment group led by the hit show's creator, Simon Fuller.
Fuller, who sold 19 Entertainment to CKX five years ago and earlier this year resigned from the company and left CKX's board of directors, is teaming up with financier and former Barclays banker Roger Jenkins. CKX did not say how much Fuller is bidding, but a person familiar with the offer said it was $600 million.
The emergence of Fuller as a suitor is just the latest twist in the corporate drama going on at CKX, whose own founder, Robert F.X. Sillerman, resigned earlier this month to weigh his own bid for the company. Besides "American Idol," CKX also produces Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," owns a management business and a majority stake in Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion and an 80% interest in licensing rights to the name and image of Muhammad Ali.
CKX said in a statement that its board of directors is evaluating the offer as well as "other potential strategic alternatives for the company." Besides Fuller and Sillerman, One Equity Partners, a private-equity arm of JPMorgan Chase, is also looking at CKX. It has Hollywood veteran Allen Shapiro, president and chief executive of Mosaic Media Group, involved in its effort, and its offer was in the neighborhood of $550 million.
Fuller's offer is not a surprise. He had sold 19 Entertainment to CKX for $200 million and earlier this year was considering making a move on Sillerman to take control of the company. That didn't pan out and he ended up leaving 19 Entertainment and started his own company, XIX Entertainment Ltd.-- Joe Flint