CKX Inc. owns the “American Idol” franchise, among other things, and founder Bob Sillerman had already put it in play. However, several reports now say that The Gores Group, majority owner of Westwood One, has made its own bid for the company.
CKX isn’t officially for sale. However, when the board of directors rebuffed a partial buyout offer by Sillerman a few months back it left the door open to considering an offer, if one were to come along, for 100% of the company. There hasn’t been any public move by Sillerman to increase his offer to buy out all other shareholders, nor has Simon Fuller ever made the bid he had indicated was in the works. Sillerman stepped down from any direct role in the company to pursue his bid. Fuller is still involved, most recently agreeing to manage the career path of this season’s Idol winner.
It appears Bloomberg News was the first to report that The Gores Group had made an unsolicited bid for CKX. After that story cleared the stock rose 10% in late Friday trading. It had, however, already gained in recent months while the Sillerman bid was pending. The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and others ran stories saying their sources had confirmed that The Gores Group had made a bid for 100% of CKX.
In addition to owning the Idol franchise around the world, CKX owns the rights to the names and likenesses of Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali.
Since Sillerman’s departure, veteran radio executive Mike Ferrel, has been CEO of CKX.