By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Elvis Presley may have left the building, but his estate is now under the same roof as "American Idol" and its "Pop Idol" siblings around the world.
Show business mogul Robert F.X. Sillerman, who gained control of Elvis Presley Enterprises in December, said Friday he has now struck a $167 million deal to buy 19 Entertainment Ltd., the British-based firm behind the "Pop Idol" television talent show craze and its hit U.S. spinoff "American Idol."
As part of the deal, 19 Entertainment founder Simon Fuller and his creative team will remain as partners in the venture with Sillerman's company, Sports Entertainment Enterprises, which does business as CKX Inc. .
The purchase price includes $124.4 million in cash plus 1.87 million shares in CKX, valued at about $43 million at the midday share price of $23.05.
Sillerman agreed to pay an additional $36.9 million in either cash or stock on condition that 19 Entertainment meets certain financial targets for the fiscal year ended June 2005, his company said in an announcement.
The deal comes three months after Sillerman, who founded and later sold radio operator SFX Broadcasting and concert promoter SFX Entertainment, acquired 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises from the rock legend's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.
That acquisition, valued at $100 million, gave Sillerman control of Presley's Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as rights to Presley's name and likeness, rights to his photographs and revenue from the King of Rock 'n' Roll's music, TV shows and films.
Friday's deal adds to Sillerman's portfolio one of the world's leading entertainment franchises.
Fuller's 19 Entertainment has created and produced versions of the "Pop Idol" format in the U.K. and more than 30 other countries, including Fox TV's smash hit "American Idol," which ranks as the No. 1 show in prime time.
The company also has recording contracts or has managed such acts as the Spice Girls, Annie Lennox and "American Idol" stars, including Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard.
Sillerman said his goal was to team up with Fuller and others to develop entertainment content "that is compelling, but not necessarily dependent on the existing distribution model" of TV networks and movie studios.
Rather, Sillerman said he wants to move further in the direction of entertainment delivered digitally through such "mobile" outlets as telephones and personal computers.
Sillerman sold off his SFX radio assets for $2.1 billion in 1997 and merged his live entertainment business with Clear Channel Communications Inc. in 2000 in a separate deal worth $4.4 billion.