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Apollo buys “American Idol” producer CKX for $509m

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management has acquired CKX, the parent company of American Idol (pictured) producer 19 Entertainment, in a deal that values CKX at roughly US$509 million.
May 10, 2011

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management has acquired CKX, the parent company of American Idol (pictured) producer 19 Entertainment, in a deal that values CKX at roughly US$509 million.

In addition to the Idol franchise, which includes Pop Idol in the UK and American Idol stateside, 19 Entertainment also produces the Fox hit So You Think You Can Dance.

CKX’s other assets include global rights to Elvis Presley’s name, image and likeness; and majority global rights for Muhammad Ali’s name, likeness, trademarks and licensing agreements.

CKX said two of its biggest shareholders had agreed to support the deal, which prices it at $5.50 a share. Goldman Sachs Group will provide debt financing for the transaction.

“We look forward to working with Apollo,” said CKX CEO Michael G. Ferrel in a statement. “The transaction allows CKX stockholders to realize significant value from their investment in the company.”

The deal comes after numerous takeover attempts for CKX in recent years. Former CKX CEO Robert Sillerman last year saw his offer of between $5.50 and $5.75 per share rebuffed by stakeholders; while in 2007, he and American Idol creator Simon Fuller saw their $1.3bn bid to buy the company fail.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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