CKX Takes Its Lumps

CKX, the multimedia company that owns “American Idol” and its similar franchises worldwide, posted negative first-quarter numbers May 10 – one day before the company announced an attempt to take the company private.

CKX, which also operates Elvis Presley Enterprises and 19 Entertainment, reported revenue is down 18 percent compared with the year-ago period. OIBDAN is down 72 percent.

The company attributes the revenue decline to $10 million of nonrecurring revenue in 2009 from terminated license agreements at the Presley business and the Ali business, which manages the image of Muhammad Ali.

Robert Sillerman, who founded and was CEO of CKX, resigned May 7 to “pursue other interests.”

“There is a party that we have been in active dialogue on in the past month that triggered the announcement we made a month ago,” CKX Chief Financial Officer Thomas Benson said in a May 11 conference call. “Separately and apart from that, Bob has now expressed a stated interest in taking the company private as well.”

Sillerman, the largest stakeholder in the company, and CKX tried to take the company private in March with the help of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s private-equity arm, a source told Bloomberg.

Director Edward Bleier takes over as chairman of the board and Michael Ferrel, a former director and president of the company, will serve as acting CEO. Sillerman will continue to advise the company as a consultant.