Luxe Life Blog
Pop media mogul aims to acquire Viva Elvis partner CKX
It’s a complicated, under-the-covers financial story, but word is that American Idol creator Simon Fuller is teaming up with financial experts to buy media entertainment company CKX, which owns the rights to Elvis Presley and is a partner in Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis at Aria in MGM’s CityCenter.
CKX, run by reclusive billionaire Robert F.X. Sillerman, bought Simon’s 19 Entertainment five years ago for $200 million. Now with last month’s surprise resignation by Robert, Simon is planning a $600 million bid for CKX.
Simon’s original 19 Entertainment produces American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. CKX owns the management and majority stake in Graceland Mansion and licensing and merchandising. Interestingly, CKX has an 80 percent interest in the name, image and marketing of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who is managed by longtime Las Vegas VIP Bernie Yuman.
Also interesting is that CKX will be the partner of just-departed Idol judge Simon Cowell, who is a former partner of Simon Fuller’s in the launch of his new syndicated TV series The X Factor -- already a British talent show hit. When I last spoke with Robert, he indicated that it was highly likely the U.S. version might be telecast from Las Vegas complete with retail merchandising to service franchised TV productions of the show around the world.
In all of this is the unknown but acknowledged power of Elvis Presley’s widow Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie. There’s buzz of a rival bid to Simon’s for CKX from a Wall Street bank willing to finance another media group led by Allen Shapiro. Allen was side by side with Priscilla at last week’s season finale of Idol!
Sure is a close-knit group of rivals and business friends! We’ll keep our eyes on this story as it develops.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.