CKX Inc., the publicly listed operator of Elvis Presley's Graceland estate, confirmed Thursday that it has received a buyout offer from its chairman and chief executive, Robert F.X. Sillerman, that values the company at $1.33 billion.
Sillerman, the company's single largest shareholder, said he and Simon Fuller, the chief executive of CKX subsidiary 19 Entertainment Ltd., would purchase the company's outstanding common stock for $13.75 per share in cash.
CKX's board has been actively considering the proposal and plans to have another meeting early Friday morning to consider the bid. CKX said it expects the special committee of independent directors to complete its review of the transaction and present its recommendation to the board at the meeting.
CKX shares rose 4 cents to $10.63 Thursday, then climbed to $13.37 in after-hours trading.
CKX owns and develops entertainment content, including licensing the name and likeness of such figures as Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. It also has the rights to the "American Idol" television show and adaptations that air in more than 100 countries.
Additional background information:
His death prompted a media frenzy, caused widespread hysteria and triggered countless conspiracy theories. But the demise of Elvis Presley on August 17, 1977 at the age of 42 also laid the foundations for an extraordinary financial windfall for his widow Priscilla and their daughter Lisa Marie.
In death, “The King”, who was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, to an impoverished truck driver and a sewing machine operator, began outearning his living self in 1988.
The music legend, who made his name with hits such as Hound Dog, Love Me Tender and Heartbreak Hotel and appeared in numerous movies, was until last year the world’s highest-earning dead celebrity.
The Elvis Presley brand earns $42 million (£21 million) in revenues each year, second only to Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, who raked in $50 million from sales of records and memorabilia last year.
The business of Elvis Presley is today thought to be worth about $600 million; a considerable fortune compared with the $4.9 million value placed on the estate at the time of his death.
Despite selling a billion albums during his lifetime, Elvis suffered from poor business deals and extravagant spending habits, compounded by indifferent financial advice.
The singer owned five lavish residences as well as four aircraft, and he frequently gave away cars and untold sums of money.
The sale of the 700 master recordings he made during his career to RCA for a mere $5.4 million in 1973 is said to be among the most shortsighted deals in the history of the music business. After agents’ costs, the sale netted Elvis just $1.5 million.
CKX, which holds 85 per cent of the Elvis Presley estate, with Lisa Marie in control of the remaining 15 per cent, is expecting to reap further gains from the brand with an Elvis-themed Las Vegas attraction in the pipeline.
The company already benefits from sales of records, which rocketed after the musician’s death, as well as memorabilia, and visits by diehard fans to his home, Graceland, in Memphis.
After the death of Elvis, Priscilla took charge of the effort to save the Elvis Presley estate by turning Graceland into a tourist attraction and creating Elvis Presley Enterprises. Her efforts have paid off, and today Lisa Marie is estimated to be worth about $300 million.
Priscilla remains a director of CKX and acts as a consultant to the brand to maintain public interest in Elvis and continuously upgrade the attractions.
Update June 4, 2007: Board OKs private time for CKX
NEW YORK -- CKX Inc. chairman and CEO Robert "F.X." Sillerman and "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller are set to take private CKX after its board approved a $1.3 billion, or $13.75-per-share, cash buyout and related transactions.
Friday's board move boosted shares of the company that owns the rights to such cultural icons as Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, David Beckham and "Idol" to a 52-week high. The stock closed the session up 37.8% at $14.65.
In addition to the buyout, for every share of CKX, shareholders will receive one share of Sillerman-affiliated real estate firm FX Luxury Realty, in which CKX on Friday acquired 50% for $100 million in cash and which will look to develop attractions based on Presley and Ali in Las Vegas, Memphis and cities around the world under a newly struck licensing arrangement.
Sillerman said in an interview Friday that the deal also will free up the new company, 19X, to do deals with content creators and cultural icons who in the past wouldn't sign arrangements because of the disclosure requirements of public companies.
Sillerman said Friday that the deals are designed to create a new public company that can pursue capital-intense real estate projects while also allowing shareholders to get a cash payout and a chance to stay invested in the real estate firm.
While most observers expect the transaction to go through, there is a 45-day window for alternative bids, CKX said.
The cash portion of the buyout price represents a 29% premium over CKX's Thursday closing price of $10.63. Sillerman and Fuller, who is a CKX director and the CEO of its 19 Entertainment Ltd. unit that owns "Idol," said they would fund the deal through a combination of equity and debt financing, with the two executives and unnamed other senior company managers "providing a substantial portion of the equity commitment."
"After two successful years of developing and exploiting the assets we have acquired, during which time we have seen tremendous year-over-year growth, we have come to realize that there is a substantial opportunity to capitalize on the Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali assets in real estate and location-based attractions," Sillerman said.
However, he said that "the pursuit of these opportunities would require a significant investment of capital, which could hinder our ability to grow the core area of our business and which is not consistent with the business plan."
He hopes for a "flurry of activity" in terms of deals with content creators/icons who in the past opted out of deal talks at the last second as the publicly traded CKX would have had to "disclose more of their lives ad finances" than they wanted.
Sillerman said in the interview that master plans for a development in Memphis -- including three hotels and an entertainment complex with an amphitheater -- already have been submitted.
FX Luxury owns land in Las Vegas and plans to pursue an Elvis Presley hotel and casino project along with commercial and residential developments. And talks are under way with about a dozen other locations around the world, Sillerman added.
Fuller said he is "looking forward so much to continuing to work with Bob building the amazing assets that we have in 'Idol,' Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali and the Beckhams."
Source: Google / Updated: Jun 4, 2007