Television

Sillerman's CKX acquires 'American Idol' owner for $ 161 million

MUMBAI: Sports Entertainment Enterprises, Inc's CKX Inc., the control of which was recently acquired by Robert F X Sillerman, announced that it had acquired UK based 19 Entertainment Limited.

Founded by Simon Fuller, 19 Entertainment, is the creator of Pop Idol, the format of which is now rolling out worldwide in conjunction with Fremantle Media. In addition, CKX has also entered into a long-term agreement with Fuller.

 

This transaction follows CKX's recent acquisition of a controlling interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises, which owns and controls the commercial utilisation of the name, image and likeness of Presley, the operation of the Graceland museum and related attractions, as well as revenue derived from Presley's, television specials, films and certain of his music.

 

 

CKX acquired 19 Entertainment from its shareholders, including Fuller, for total consideration consisting of $124.4 million in cash and 1,870,558 shares of CKX common stock, each paid at closing, and an additional $36.9 million in either cash or stock to be paid following delivery of audited results for the fiscal year ended 30 June, 2005.

The Company financed the cash consideration with borrowings and through the exercise of $25 million of outstanding common stock purchase warrants held by Sillerman and other members of management of CKX, the Huff Alternative Fund, the Company's largest institutional equity investor, and an affiliate of Huff. The warrants were obtained by Sillerman, Huff and the other holders in connection with their initial investments in the Company in February 2005.

19 Entertainment is a leading creator and producer of entertainment properties, including American Idol in the US, Pop Idol in the UK, as well as versions of the Pop Idol format in more than 30 countries around the world.

In addition to creating and producing entertainment programming, the Company has recording contracts with and manages or has managed some of the world's best known musicians and other artists, including the Spice Girls, Annie Lennox, S Club 7 and former American Idol and Pop Idol participants, such as Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia.

The Company has also entered into an exclusive global joint venture with David and Victoria Beckham.

Commenting on the 19 acquisition, Sillerman said, "Simon Fuller and his associates at 19 Entertainment have a long history of developing and building some of the most impactful branded entertainment properties in the world. We are thrilled to have them as partners of CKX. As we grow our business, the content that 19 owns, controls, is developing, or develops in the future will become important elements in our effort to refocus the relationship between the creators of content and the distributors of that content."

Fuller added, "This is a hugely exciting new partnership for myself and 19 Entertainment. CKX will provide 19 with a powerful platform for global growth and allow us to fully take advantage of all the amazing opportunities that lie ahead. Bob Sillerman is a true visionary. From the very first day we met it was clear that we shared the same dynamic vision for the direction of the entertainment industry in the 21st century and the ever increasing importance of content and creativity. I cannot wait to get started."

In addition to controlling the operations of 19 Entertainment and its subsidiaries, Fuller will be appointed a director of CKX and will play a key role in planning and implementing the Company's overall creative direction. Fuller, who founded 19 Entertainment in 1985, has spent his entire career in the entertainment industry and has been publicly recognised as among the most successful British music managers of all time.

CKX is engaged in the ownership, development and commercial utilisation of entertainment content.

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