‘American Idol’ Owner CKX Is Said to Get Unsolicited Bid From Gores Group

Billionaire Alec Gores made an unsolicited offer for “American Idol” owner CKX Inc. (CKXE), according to a person with knowledge of the bid.

The offer came in a March 23 letter from Los Angeles-based Gores Group and was at a premium to CKX’s trading price at the time, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the proposal isn’t public. The person declined to give a specific price. At yesterday’s closing price, CKX had a market value of about $392 million.

The Gores bid comes five months after CKX ended discussions to sell the company or a controlling stake. The company held talks last year with JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s One Equity Partners, a person close to the situation said at the time. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Sillerman resigned in May to separately pursue a possible purchase of CKX.

CKX surged 43 cents, or 10 percent, to $4.65 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have gained 15 percent this year.

CKX referred inquiries to an outside spokesman, William Schmitt, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Michael Sitrick, a spokesman for Gores, declined to comment.

Gores Group raised $2 billion in February for acquisitions, including in the consumer sector. With his brother Tom, Alec Gores made an unsuccessful bid for the Miramax film studio. Tom Gores runs Beverly Hills, California-based buyout firm Platinum Equity LLC.

CKX owns two-thirds of the “Idol” brand and co-produces the show in the U.S. with Fremantle Media, owner of the rest, according to the company’s annual report. CKX’s 19 Entertainment has a global television and production agreement with Fremantle. In 2005 CKX bought 19 Entertainment, which was founded by Simon Fuller, the creator of the “Idol” series.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ronald Grover in Los Angeles at rgrover5@bloomberg.net; Serena Saitto in New York at ssaitto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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