CKX Buys The Greatest

Robert Sillerman’s CKX, which already owns the “American Idol” franchise and all things Elvis, acquired an 80 percent interest in the image and licensing of Muhammad Ali for $50 million in cash April 11th.

The 64-year-old former heavyweight champion, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, retains 20 percent of the business. The new venture will be named G.O.A.T., an acronym for “The Greatest of All Time.”

The purchase includes Ali’s name, image, likeness, certain trademarks and all existing license agreements, CKX said in a statement.

Ali already reportedly has licensing agreements with Adidas, which sells a line of clothing called “Ali by Adidas,” and Electronic Arts, which features an Ali video game. The existing business lines generated about $4 million to $7 million a year over the last five years, according to CKX.

“This is different than a licensing deal with Elvis Presley,” Sillerman told Bloomberg News. “It’s appropriate and it’s consistent with Elvis that there are over 100-plus licensees. That will not be the case with Muhammad Ali. That’s not where the power of this is.”