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‘American Idol’ duo expanding

Fuller, Sillerman take CKX private

CKX, the U.S. entertainment company that owns “American Idol” and the Elvis Presley estate, is going private.

“American Idol” creator Simon Fuller, who sold his 19 Entertainment shingle to CKX, and CKX majority shareholder Robert Sillerman have entered into a complex $1.3 billion management buyout deal to acquire the entertainment company.

19 expects to finance the acquisition through a combination of equity and debt financing, with Sillerman and Fuller, as well as other members of the senior management team, providing a substantial portion of the equity commitment.

Stockholders will receive the $13.75 cash merger consideration and a share of stock in Sillerman’s real estate company FX Luxury Realty for each share of CKX common stock that they hold.

Shares of CKX shot up nearly 38% on the takeover news to close at $14.65, a 52-week high.

CKX acquired 19 Entertainment in 2005. It also owns 85% of the Elvis Presley estate and the name and image rights of Muhammad Ali. On the management side, 19’s clients include international soccer star David Beckham and his wife, Victoria.

“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished and am 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,” said Fuller. “I believe this transaction provides the best way to maximize the value we have created.”

Sillerman is the founder of sports marketing and concert promotion group SFX Entertainment, which he sold to Clear Channel for more than $4 billion.

Fuller, whose wealth was recently valued at $890 million, set up 19 in 1985. His current roster of TV projects include Fox’s “Idol” spin-off, “The Search for the Next Great American Band,” and NBC’s untitled Victoria Beckham reality show, which is now lensing in L.A.

The series of transactions were approved by a unanimous vote of the independent members of CKX’s board of directors on Friday.

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