Investors Offer to Buy Owner of ‘American Idol’

by | May 28, 2010 at 5:36 PM | American Idol, RealityTV, TV News

'American Idol' for Sale? (Photo: Fox)

'American Idol' for Sale? (Photo: Fox)

BY Deborah Yao, AP Business Writer

The owner of the ‘American Idol‘ reality TV show said Friday it has received an acquisition offer from a group of investors led by British media mogul Simon Fuller.

CKX Inc. said it is evaluating the proposal and other strategic alternatives. Fuller created the ‘Idol’ franchise but sold his company, 19 Entertainment, to CKX in 2005.

CKX did not say how much it was being offered but The Wall Street Journal said former Barclays Capital banker Roger Jenkins is one of the investors joining Fuller in a $600 million bid for CKX. The company also owns the rights to the name, image and likeness of Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali.

Fuller and Jenkins have created a $1 billion fund for acquisitions, the newspaper said.

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Earlier this month, Robert F.X. Sillerman, CKX’s founder, chairman and chief executive, resigned and said he was considering buying the company. Sillerman, who continues as a consultant to CKX, is the company’s largest shareholder with a 21 percent stake. He served as chairman and CEO since the company’s inception five years ago.

In 2008, privately held 19X Inc. — controlled by Sillerman and Fuller — abandoned plans to take CKX private because of tight credit conditions that made borrowing more difficult.

Fuller’s latest bid comes after a nine-year run for “American Idol,” which said goodbye to its famously caustic judge Simon Cowell on Wednesday.

While ‘Idol’ remains the nation’s favorite show, it has seen audience erosion this season.

In the first quarter, CKX posted a net loss as revenue fell 18 percent to $66.6 million amid restructuring costs.

Shares of CKX, which is based in New York, jumped $1, or 23 percent, to $5.32 in late trading.

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