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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, December 17, 2004

Entrepreneur sees new markets for 'The King'

By David Lieberman
USA Today

NEW YORK — Elvis Presley has headed to Wall Street with some help from radio and concert entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman.

Elvis Presley had a wrought iron fence built around his Memphis estate for security purposes in 1957. The fence design included caricatures of himself. Robert F.X. Sillerman now hopes to market Elvis worldwide.

Advertiser library photo • 1957

Sillerman unveiled an unusual two-part business deal yesterday that will give investors an opportunity to gamble on his ability to find new markets for all things Elvis. It's predicated on the belief that the world is "under-Elvised," as he puts it.

"Even in the U.S., the only way to get in contact with the Elvis experience is at Graceland," The King's estate in Memphis which attracted 650,000 visitors last year, he says. "If you go to Las Vegas, you can't find authorized Elvis memorabilia."

And he expects to find more opportunities overseas: "Would a tour of Elvis jumpsuits, guitars and memorabilia be interesting to people in Japan? I'll bet it is."


For his $100 million, entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman will get, among other things:

• Revenue from the use of the Elvis Presley name and image

• Tour operation at Graceland (but not the land or building itself)

• Publishing rights to songs such as "Love Me Tender" and "All Shook Up"

And bet he has. He agreed to pay $100 million — about half in cash — for an 85 percent interest in most of Elvis' assets, including the rights to his name and image, the tour operation at Graceland, and publishing rights to most of Elvis' songs.

Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, will control the remaining 15 percent, including possession of her father's home, its more than 13 acres of land and many of her father's personal effects.

The Elvis business generated $12 million in operating profit on nearly $45 million in revenue in 2003, and $9.4 million in profit on about $38 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2004.

Sillerman plans to fold his Presley holdings into Sports Entertainment Enterprises, a publicly traded company that has no operating assets. He expects to pay about $3.5 million for 94 percent of that firm's stock and rename it CKX. Lisa Marie Presley can join the board or name a director.

The Presley deal is a template for others Sillerman hopes to make with performers who believe he can squeeze additional revenue from their celebrity status.