British music industry entrepreneur Simon Fuller has sold his 19 Entertainment empire -- the company behind the "Idol" TV franchise -- to Robert Sillerman's CKX in a cash and stock deal worth £10
British music industry entrepreneur Simon Fuller has sold his 19 Entertainment empire -- the company behind the "Idol" TV franchise -- to Robert Sillerman's CKX in a cash and stock deal worth £100 million ($192 million).
Fuller says in a statement that the move will provide 19 with a "powerful platform for global growth." As CEO, he retains control of 19 and its subsidiaries. He has also been appointed a director of CKX, for which he will work in planning and implementing the company's overall creative direction.
He adds, "19 Entertainment will continue to lead the world in the development of music-based entertainment under CKX Inc., and I will take a leading role in developing the business moving forward."
The deal was orchestrated by equity firm Ingenious Ventures, a division of Ingenious Media. Fuller was majority shareholder in 19; Ingenious had a 25% stake.
The move follows CKX's recent acquisition of an 85% interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises. That deal, worth about $100 million, gave CKX control of Graceland and the surrounding properties in Memphis, as well as revenue derived from Elvis' music, films and TV specials.
Fuller, who established 19 in 1985 in London, has overseen the firm's rise into an international entertainment juggernaut that drives the "Idol" franchise. Its properties include "American Idol" in the United States, "Pop Idol" in the United Kingdom, and versions of the talent show in more than 30 world markets.
As an artist manager, Fuller masterminded the success of the Spice Girls. In recent years, he has helped guide the careers of Annie Lennox, Will Young, Rachel Stevens and former "American Idol" and "Pop Idol" participants Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia.
Sillerman comments, "As we grow our business, the content that 19 owns, controls, is developing or develops in the future will become important elements in our effort to refocus the relationship between the creators of content and the distributors of that content."