CKX, the entertainment company which holds the rights to American Idol amongst other properties, has agreed to a management buy-out (Reuters). CEO Robert Sillerman and Simon Fuller, who is CEO of subsidiary 19 Entertainment, offered $13.75 per share, valuing the company at $1.33 billion. Englishman Fuller’s 19 company owns the rights to all the Idols derivatives; the U.S. version, which last year broke SMS records, is widely credited with helping popularize the use of mobile texting and TV audience participation in America.
“Other members of senior management” will join Sillerman and Fuller in the buy-out, which will involve taking on debt, says the release. Shareholders, in return for accepting the offer, will get equal shares in FX Luxury Realty, Sillerman’s side company that owns Las Vegas real estate on which it expects to exploit CKX’s rights to the images of Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley by building Ali- and Presley-themed hotels and casinos. With the buy-out involving Sillerman and Fuller effectively merging one of their jointly-owned companies with CKX, the move looks like a structural exercise that would strengthen the Idols owners to continue exploiting the franchise.
Guardian: Fuller and Sillerman would hold an equal stake in the new company. Meanwhile, CKX said it would continue to acquire or partner with companies in music, film TV, video games and more.