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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
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.

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