Presley's daughter sells rights to the Elvis estate for £52m

Elvis Presley's daughter sold the rights to her late father's estate for £52m yesterday in a deal she hoped would "preserve and protect his legacy".

Elvis Presley's daughter sold the rights to her late father's estate for £52m yesterday in a deal she hoped would "preserve and protect his legacy".

Lisa Marie Presley sold an 85 per cent stake in the estate to the US businessman, Robert Sillerman, granting him the rights to Elvis's name and image as well as the money raised from his music.

Presley will maintain ownership of the Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, which is visited by 650,00 Elvis pilgrims every year.

The only child of Elvis, she will also keep most of her father's personal belongings and maintain a 15 per cent stake in the company.

Yesterday, she described how she had sought a partner for several years in order to expand Elvis Presley Enterprises and secure the legacy of her father.

"My greatest responsibility to my father is to preserve and protect his legacy, and this is an exciting new structure that opens up an incredible array of opportunities with a major infusion of new investment capital to do just that."

During his lifetime, Elvis won the hearts of millions of adoring fans, starring in 31 films and later selling more than a billion records.

Although 27 years have passed since the death of the singer, the Elvis business has been consistently profitable and shown little sign of waning.

During 2003, the estate generated a revenue of £23m, making a further £20m during the first nine months of this year.

The financial status of the company was confirmed two months ago when Elvis topped a poll compiled by the US business website Forbes.com revealing the biggest posthumous earners.

The enduring appeal of the late singer is most apparent every August, when thousands of fans make the annual pilgrimage to Graceland to commemorate his death in 1977.

Mr Sillerman, who founded and later sold the concert promotion company SFX Entertainment and the radio opera- tor SFX Broadcasting, hailed Elvis as the "most significant icon in American pop culture".

As part of the deal, Presley will collect £27m in cash and the remainder will be split between preferred stock and debt repayment. While she will maintain ownership of Graceland and its 13-acre site, Mr Sillerman will manage the mansion and run the tourist business.

Mr Sillerman has formed a new company, CKX Inc, to deal with the business of the estate. Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie's mother and Elvis's former wife, will remain executive consultant to the business. In a statement announcing the move, it was confirmed that the new company would own rights to "the name, image and likeness of Elvis Presley, the operation of Graceland and the surrounding properties, as well as revenue derived from Elvis's music, films and television specials".

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