'American Idol' parent CKX takes itself off sales block
CKX Inc., the parent of "American Idol" producer 19 Entertainment, said it was ending talks with potential suitors for the company.
In a statement, CKX said its board of directors "did not receive any proposals that it felt were in the best interests of shareholders" and had determined to "discontinue discussions and intends to continue to operate the company on a stand-alone basis."
Among those that were kicking the tires of the company were "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller, former CKX Chief Executive Robert F.X. Sillerman and One Equity Partners, a private-equity arm of JP Morgan Chase that had teamed up with Hollywood veteran deal maker Allen Shapiro, who is president of Mosaic Media Group.
The offers, none which seemed to get a serious response from CKX, were in the $500-million to $600-million range. Sillerman, who owns 21% of the company's stock, had been seen in some circles as the most likely to succeed in landing the company.
CKX is gambling that Fox's "American Idol," which is the biggest revenue driver of the company, still has a lot of life left in it even though Simon Cowell has left his role as judge to launch a rival show called "The X Factor," which will also be on Fox. Also gone are Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi. Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and performer Jennifer Lopez are the new judges on "American Idol."
Besides "American Idol," CKX also produces Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" and 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.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: New "American Idol" judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images