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CKXE -- Looking for a Swing

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1 CKXE -- Looking for a Swing on Thu May 27, 2010 12:31 am

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2 Re: CKXE -- Looking for a Swing on Fri May 28, 2010 11:29 am

'Idol' Creator, Former Barclays Banker Plan $600 Million Bid for CKX



By GINA CHON and ETHAN SMITH

Simon Fuller, creator of the "Idol" shows, and former Barclays Capital banker Roger Jenkins are planning Friday to submit a bid of $600 million for entertainment company CKX Inc., people familiar with the matter said.

Messrs. Fuller and Jenkins are making plans to submit a letter detailing their offer to purchase the company that owns the blockbuster television enterprise "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," these people said. CKX also owns the rights to the names and likenesses of Elvis Presley and Muhammed Ali.

Mr. Fuller and Mr. Jenkins have amassed a $1 billion fund to make strategic acquisitions, but they don't have a name yet for their venture, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Jenkins, a top dealmaker for Barclays Capital, left the Barclays PLC investment-banking arm in 2009.

Robert F.X. Sillerman, the former chairman and chief executive of CKX, resigned earlier this month as part of his longstanding effort to purchase the company and take it private. Initially Mr. Sillerman had the backing of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s private-equity arm, One Equity, for a bid of $6 a share, or almost $560 million.

CKX shares have traded down substantially since The Wall Street Journal reported in March that the company was exploring a takeover offer. Thursday, its shares traded hands at $4.32 each, for a market capitalization of just over $400 million. They were trading as high as $6.30 in April.

CKX carries about $100 million of debt and an additional $55 million in cash on its balance sheet.

Mr. Sillerman remains the company's largest shareholder with about a 20% stake.

He has more recently teamed up with private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners, but it is unclear whether they submitted a bid, people familiar with the matter said.

Three years ago, Mr. Sillerman and Mr. Fuller wanted to take CKX private, but they couldn't raise financing for the deal amid the developing financial crisis.

A CKX spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Fuller, a veteran British talent manager, was the founder of 19 Entertainment, which owned the "Idol" television franchise and many lucrative rights associated with it. In 2005, he sold 19 Entertainment to CKX for around $174 million and became a top executive there. He resigned from CKX and 19 Entertainment in January amid uncertainty over the company's future direction, but remained a consultant to certain properties.

Write to Gina Chon at gina.chon@wsj.com and Ethan Smith at ethan.smith@wsj.com

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