I’ve recently made a bold investment in Elvis Presley – not in the man himself, but in the company that controls his legacy, Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE). It all started when I purchased 200 shares in CKX, Inc., the parent company of EPE. Broadway media mogul and producer Robert Sillerman acquired controlling interest in EPE back in 2004, and I had my reasons for joining the Elvis wagon.
Reasons to Believe in CKX’s Success
First and foremost, an Associated Press article caught my attention. It predicted that CKX could significantly increase its stock price in the next couple of years. The price of CKX shares was also attractive, especially compared to its peak in 2005. Finally, my sentimental attachment to Elvis made it an emotional choice. As a devoted Elvis fan, I had faith in his future earning potential even after his passing.
A Transition from Family to Corporate Ownership
When Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’s daughter, sold 85% of her ownership in EPE to Sillerman’s CKX, many long-time Elvis fans were taken by surprise. For years, the family had maintained control over EPE, with Priscilla Presley successfully reviving the commercial value of Elvis’s name after his death. However, Lisa Marie saw an opportunity to secure her father’s legacy with a major infusion of capital and expertise. She sold her stake in EPE for $100 million in exchange for 15% ownership in CKX.
A Money-First Approach
Concerns arose among fans about Sillerman’s intentions for Elvis’s image under his money-first approach. While Sillerman claimed to be an Elvis fan himself, fans were worried about his focus on profitability. Fortunately, the EPE management team remained intact, and Jack Soden, EPE’s CEO, assured fans that no drastic changes would be made. Soden believed that their mission was to improve continuously, delivering better experiences to fans.
Sillerman’s Actions Since the Sell-Off
Five years have passed since Sillerman took control of EPE, and it’s becoming clear what his plans for the company are. Sillerman has a reputation for building companies and selling them for significant profits. In his efforts to “fatten up” CKX, he acquired the British company behind “American Idol” and the rights to Muhammad Ali’s name and likeness. Nevertheless, CKX’s stock value has dropped by over 83% since its peak in 2005, and the company’s profitability currently receives a dismal “F” rating from stock research site Morningstar.
Expanding Elvis’s Appeal
Expanding Elvis’s appeal beyond his traditional fan base poses a challenge for CKX. While there have been efforts to license more Elvis merchandise and repackage his music, these primarily target existing fans. To attract a new and wider audience, CKX attempted a Broadway musical called “All Shook Up.” However, the show failed to generate the same interest as ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” or the Four Seasons’ “Jersey Boys.” Currently, the company is exploring other avenues, such as redeveloping Graceland and partnering with Cirque du Soleil to create an Elvis-themed show in Las Vegas.
Preserving Elvis’s Legacy
As an Elvis fan and CKX shareholder, I have high hopes for the future. If the Las Vegas show succeeds, it could spark a renewed cultural interest in Elvis, positively impacting CKX’s stock value. Alternatively, if Sillerman sells Elvis and CKX to a conglomerate, as he typically does, my stock may split, resulting in potential financial gains. Even if the worst-case scenario happens and CKX’s profits decline, my love for Elvis and his timeless music will never fade.
Remember, the legacy of Elvis will always hold immense value, and as a true fan, I’ll continue cherishing his music, no matter what the future holds.
To learn more about Elvis Presley and his enduring legacy, visit All about Elvis.