CKx heading for new owner


Apollo Global Management, with backing from Goldman Sachs, is buying CKx Inc., the company that owns “American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” other related shows and the rights to the images of Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. Two big stockholders are supporting the sale.

The price is $5.50 per share, which is expected to work out to about $509M.

Robert F.X. Sillerman is the largest stockholder in CKx and approves of the plan, as does The Promenade Trust, which benefits Lisa Marie Presley.

CKx Chairman/CEO Michael G. Ferrel commented, “We look forward to working with Apollo, a growth-oriented investor who has a successful history of investing in the media and entertainment sector and one that the Board and management team are confident will serve as a strong steward for the Company’s brands going forward. The transaction allows CKx stockholders to realize significant value from their investment in the Company and the Board has determined that the transaction is advisable, fair and in the best interest of the Company’s public stockholders.”

Apollo senior partner Aaron J. Stone added, “”CKx owns a portfolio of irreplaceable assets that present a strong foundation on which to build an exciting future. We look forward to working with Mike Ferrel and the rest of the CKx management team.”

Even though the toner has barely settled on the release announcing the deal, at least one law firm has already spread its wings and is circling the transaction. Bernstein Liebhard LLP said it is investigating whether CKx board members “…breached its fiduciary duty to its shareholders in agreeing to sell CKX to an affiliate of Apollo Global Management.” Calling the deal potentially unfair, it is seeking shareholders who are interested in meeting with the law firm to discuss their rights.