“American Idol” owner confirms sale talks


Bob Sillerman’s CKX Inc. confirmed Monday morning that it is in talks for a sale of the company. The Wall Street Journal had reported late Friday that Sillerman and a private equity firm were putting together a deal to buy out the public shareholders. At $6 per share, CKX would be valued at about $558 million.

“In response to market rumors, CKX, Inc. confirmed today that it is engaged in discussions regarding a possible transaction involving the sale of the company. CKX cautioned that there can be no assurance that it will enter into any agreement with respect to a transaction, or as to the timing, price or terms thereof, or that the price or terms in any such transaction will be as speculated. CKX stated that it does not expect to make any additional statements or provide any further information regarding the status of any discussions or any possible transaction unless a definitive agreement is entered into or adopted,” the company said in a statement Monday.

The company’s stock price had shot up in the final minutes of trading on Friday, following the report by the WSJ that a buyout was in the works for around $6 per share. The stock had been around $5.40 earlier in the day. It traded as high as $6.17 on Monday before settling back just below the $6 mark.

CKX owns 19 Entertainment, which it bought from Simon Fuller for $174 million in 2005. 19 Entertainment owns the rights to “American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and a new web-based Fuller project, “If I Can Dream.” The latter is tied in to another CKX franchise, Elvis Presley Enterprises, which licenses the name and likeness of its namesake. CKX also licenses the name and likeness of Muhammad Ali.

According to the WSJ, Sillerman is working with JPMorgan’s private equity arm, One Equity Partners, on an offer to buy out all other shareholders, with Sillerman retaining his ownership of a bit over 20% of the company.

At $6 per share, CKX would be valued at about $558 million.

RBR-TVBR observation: Deal making is in Bob Sillerman’s blood. He tried to take CKX private once before, with Simon Fuller as a partner, but that was derailed when the economy went into a tailspin. That was probably lucky for him, since he’s now able to offer $6 per share instead of $12.