Here is a press release from EPE. December 16, 2004 -- Robert F.X. Sillerman and his new media and entertainment company, which will be named CKX, Inc., have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in the assets comprising the estate of Elvis Presley.
The new partnership will conduct all business activities concerning EPE, Graceland and tour operations, however the transaction was structured so that the title to Graceland and its 13.6-acre grounds in Memphis, TN, and most of Elvis’s personal effects remain with Lisa Marie Presley.
The new partnership includes all trademark rights to the name, likeness and image of Elvis Presley and all EPE-owned intellectual property, including its collection of photographs, archival documents and footage, and EPE’s successful music publishing catalog, as well as the Graceland visitor center complex and Heartbreak Hotel across the street from the mansion and all other EPE real estate investments.
In a related transaction, Mr. Sillerman announced that he expects, through an affiliated entity, to acquire approximately 94 percent of the common equity of Sports Entertainment Enterprises, Inc. [OTC BB:SPEA.OB], an inactive publicly traded company, through which the business of CKX will be conducted. Please see Mr. Sillerman’s and SPEA’s releases for further information on this transaction.
“For the past few years I’ve been looking for someone to join forces with to expand the many facets of EPE, to take it to new levels internationally, and to make it an even greater force in the entertainment industry,” said Lisa Marie Presley, singer/songwriter and sole heir to the Elvis Presley Estate. “I feel confidant that Bob Sillerman and his team are the right people to do this with. My greatest responsibility to my father is to preserve and protect his legacy, and this is an exciting new structure that opens up an incredible array of opportunities with a major infusion of new investment capital to do just that,” continued Presley. “It’s the ideal partnership in that I retain Graceland and my father’s personal effects, yet joining forces with Bob Sillerman will give us the opportunity to grow even further the intellectual and entertainment properties.”
Commenting on the transaction, Mr. Sillerman said, “I am extremely excited about our new venture, which we believe will bring unique concepts to different aspects of the utilization of entertainment content and will challenge the current models of distribution and consumption of content. I am fully committed to the success of CKX and there is no better way to launch our new company than by assuming the opportunity and responsibility, together with the Presley family and the current management of Elvis Presley Enterprises, of continuing and expanding the heritage of Elvis Presley. I believe Elvis to be the single most significant icon in American pop culture.”
No staffing or personnel changes are anticipated within the EPE organization. Priscilla Presley remains as an executive consultant, Jack Soden remains as CEO and Gary Hovey remains Executive Vice President and head of the Los Angeles office. All of EPE’s management team and staff will remain in place and Graceland tour operations will continue with business as usual.
EPE was created in 1980 by Priscilla Presley on behalf of the Elvis Presley estate. Its business extends far beyond the Graceland operation. It includes worldwide licensing of Elvis-related products and ventures, the development of Elvis-related music, film, video, television and stage productions, the ongoing development of EPE’s Internet presence, the management of significant music publishing assets, the Heartbreak Hotel in Memphis and more.
Mr. Sillerman was the founder, a major shareholder and served as Executive Chairman of SFX Entertainment from its inception in 1997 until its sale to Clear Channel Communications in August 2000. SFX Entertainment was the largest presenter, promoter and producer of live events in the world. Prior to that, Mr. Sillerman was a founder, major shareholder and served as Executive Chairman of SFX Broadcasting, a major owner and operator of radio stations, from its inception in 1992 through its sale in 1998 to an affiliate of buyout firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst.
Note from EPE - Questions/Comments?
Knowing of what great interest this news is to Elvis fans worldwide, they anticipate many e-mail messages with inquiries and comments. EPE will not be able to answer all those messages individually. However, they will be posting more information here in the newssection on their site as it becomes available to share with you and they will be constructing a special Frequently Asked Questions section to respond to the collected inquiries and comments. Please send any messages to our general company e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. Your message will be acknowledged with a form response and then added to the file EPE will use as a reference for constructing the FAQ and the continuing news postings about this great new development for Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and the world of Elvis at large. Thank you very much.
A Personal Note from Lisa Marie Presley:
Hello and Happy Holidays!
I would like to further clarify and ease any weary minds (If there are any about the recent business announcement.
First off, companies merge all the time and while it is true that EPE has been successfully holding its own for 25 years, myself, my mother and the board came to realize that in order to take the business to a whole different level, merging with another provenly successful team would accomplish that.
The search for the right person has been going on for years, none of us at EPE would have done this if it weren't in the best interest of my father and his legacy. No stone was left unturned in making sure that business will be run as it historically has been, with integrity, always preserving and protecting my father.
The executives, my mother and myself remain very active in the operations of Graceland and its entities. What is and has been done will remain, and merging with Bob Sillerman and his team simply gives us new opportunities that we didn't have before.
Business-wise any company can always grow, what is predominately sacred and can never be touched is Graceland itself and its contents and artifacts and that is and remains mine and my family's forever.
Frankly, we are all united and excited about this and I send my best wishes to you and yours for the holidays.
From the Billboard Radio Monitor:
The move was funded through a complicated transaction in which Sillerman's RFX acquired a 94% controlling interest in Sports Entertainment Enterprises for $3.43 million.
In exchange for total consideration of approximately $100 million, Lisa Marie Presley will contribute 85% of the outstanding equity interests of the assets comprising her father's estate. She will retain a 15% interest in the two Presley entities, which will operate as 85%-controlled subsidiaries of Sillerman's newly formed media and entertainment company, CKX, Inc.
The Elvis businesses had total revenue of $44.9 million for 2003 and $37.9 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2004. Net operating income before depreciation and amortization for those periods was $12 million and $9.4 million, respectively.
The deal is structured so the title to Graceland and most of Presley's personal effects remain with Lisa Marie Presley.
From Business Wire:
As part of the transaction, RFX will contribute $3.43 million to SPEA in exchange for 34,320,124 newly issued shares of SPEA common stock. In addition to the shares received from the company, RFX will receive warrants to purchase 8,689,599 shares of the common stock at $1.00 per share, warrants to purchase 8,689,599 shares of common stock at $1.50 per share, and warrants to purchase 8,689,599 shares of common s
Source: Various / Updated: Dec 16, 2004