Cowell Consolidates His Biz

Talent show founder and TV star Simon Cowell is reportedly consolidating his entertainment business interests in a new global company in cahoots with retail billionaire Sir Philip Green.

The “Britain’s Got Talent,” “America’s Got Talent” and “X-Factor” guru and Green are forming a business that will effectively act as a holding company for all of Cowell’s entertainment interests, according to Financial Times.

The paper says the two men, close friends for the past decade, have been working closely together in recent weeks, with Sir Philip traveling to Los Angeles to advise Cowell on a new contract to appear on Fox’s “American Idol.”

It claims Sir Philip, who owns some of the U.K.’s largest High Street chains including Bhs and the Arcadia Group, will benefit from the potentially lucrative merchandising opportunity – particularly in fashion, his traditional specialty.

He’s said to be Britain’s ninth-richest person with assets worth about £4.43 billion ($7.34 billion), although the FT says it’s not known how much he’s putting into the new venture.

The new company will also be what the FT calls “a springboard for new programming” devised or produced by Cowell, with Sir Philip providing business advice.

The paper also says Cowell, a judge on “American Idol,” the most-watched U.S. TV show, has been in talks with 19 Entertainment, which owns the rights to the show, and News Corp’s Fox network about a new contract. His deal with the programme, the cornerstone of the Fox schedule, expires next May.

Cowell’s believed to have been offered an “American Idol” contract that would make him the best-paid star on TV, even surpassing Oprah Winfrey’s estimated earnings.

Quoting “a person familiar with the talks,” the FT says Cowell’s been keen to ink new deals with all of his broadcasting and music partners.
His long-term deal with Sony Music comes to an end next year. Sony is thought to be keen to keep him due to the success of acts such as Leona Lewis, who were discovered through the U.K.’s “The X-Factor” show.