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Simon Fuller submits motion in bankruptcy of Idol company

By | Published on Thursday 4 August 2016


While we were busy focusing on Robert FX Sillerman’s dance music company SFX working its way through chapter eleven proceedings in the US earlier this year, the entertainment industry veteran’s previous business also applied for bankruptcy protection. So that’s fun. And that company’s attempts to restructure its affairs are now being made more complicated by another veteran of the industry, Simon Fuller.

Sillerman launched CKX in 2005, and during the five years he ran the company it moved into various strands of the entertainment industry, though became best known for acquiring Fuller’s 19 Entertainment and with it the ‘American Idol’ franchise, as well as taking a majority stake in the company that controls the Elvis Presley legacy and brand. Sillerman ultimately moved on from CKX, subsequently setting up the SFX company that has filled your CMU Daily with all sorts of twists and turns in the last year.

Since 2011, CKX has been owned by private equity outfit Apollo Management, which first rebranded it as the CORE Media Group and then, in 2014, made it a subsidiary of the joint venture media enterprise it formed with 21st Century Fox. Having offloaded various assets in recent years, CORE is now primarily a reality TV business, with ‘Idol’ and another Fuller creation, ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, still its flagship shows.

In April, shortly after the final series of ‘American Idol’ reached its conclusion, the core CORE business applied for chapter eleven bankruptcy protection, seemingly because of a demand for outstanding fees made by Fuller, who continued to consult for the company even after he stopped working for it full time. CORE was already struggling to service significant debts before those demands were made.

Now the ‘Idol’ creator seems to be throwing a new spanner into the chapter eleven works, by filing an ex parte motion with the bankruptcy court seeking an order that will allow his people to examine more closely the affairs of the CORE businesses, and the firm’s relationship with key money lenders.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fuller’s legal filing also raises the prospect of future claims “for actual and constructive fraudulent transfers, equitable subordination and disallowance, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty”.

The court papers add: “If the debtors want to expedite their exit from these chapter eleven cases, then there must be a concomitant obligation of the debtors to provide complete and expeditious access to documents and information necessary to evaluate claims and causes of action that may significantly impede the debtors’ ability to confirm a plan”.

CORE is yet to comment on Fuller’s filing.