CKX Goes Sideways

The recession has even hit the interests of Robert F.X. Sillerman, who can claim success with Elvis but may need to reassess his business interests in Las Vegas.

Sillerman, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises parent company CKX, recently told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that people still flocked to Graceland despite the summer’s high gasoline prices.

Elvis’ home drew an estimated 600,000 visitors for the 30th anniversary of his death in 2007 and the King was No. 1 on Forbes’ list of top-earning dead celebrities in 2008, the paper said. Visitors to Graceland dropped in ’08 but were comparable to previous years, a CKX spokesman told the paper.

But things aren’t so pretty over in Glitter Gulch. Sillerman’s FX Real Estate & Entertainment said Dec. 30 it has defaulted on a $475 million loan from Credit Suisse, which could lead to the sale of 18 acres of prime real estate. FX and investors in September dropped plans for an Elvis-themed resort across from CityCenter, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The land was acquired through six separate transactions, totaling $221 million, between March 1998 and May 2005, the paper said. The possible loss of the land comes after an agreement for FX to acquire an 85 percent interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises fell through.

FX is earning rental income on the land, which includes the Hawaiian Marketplace, Travelodge and several shops, the Review-Journal noted.