Robert F. X. Sillerman
Robert Francis Xavier Sillerman (born April 12, 1949) is an American businessman and media entrepreneur. Once on the Forbes 400 list, he also briefly owned the WLAF's New York/New Jersey Knights.
He grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx to Jewish American parents. He sold greeting cards door-to-door in middle school and dissatisfied with the margins set up his own corporation, buying in bulk and getting friends as a commissioned sales force.
After his father went bankrupt in the pioneering of Keystone Radio Network, Sillerman attended Brandeis University. By day he majored in political science, while by night in 1966 he launched Youth Market Consultants, offering fellow students discount magazine subscriptions while advising marketers on how to target the teen set. He sold the company in 1972 to the Boston ad firm, Ingalls.
Married to copywriter Laura Baudo, whom he met when she came to pitch her musical card to him in college, Sillerman and his wife had one child. The couple live on a 15-acre (61,000 m2) beachside estate in Southampton, New York, as well as a resort in Anguilla. In May 2012, Sillerman was accused of sexual harassment by an employee of Function X. The dispute was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
In 1978 Sillerman and deejay Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow bought two radio stations in upstate New York for $1.875 million. They acquired additional radio and TV stations, including WALL and WKGL (Middletown, New York); WJJB (now WCZX; Hyde Park, New York); WHMP (Northampton, Massachusetts); WOCN (South Yarmouth, Massachusetts); WRAN (Randolph, New Jersey); WPLR (New Haven, Connecticut) and the television station WATL (Atlanta, Georgia). In 1985 Sillerman entered into a partnership with radio/television industry executive Carl E. Hirsch (known as Legacy Broadcasting) to acquire KJOI-FM, Los Angeles for a then record-setting $44 million, as well as other stations in Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York City. The company was merged at the end of 1989 with a unit of Westinghouse Broadcasting in a then record-setting transaction worth $727 million.
In 1993 Sillerman agreed to a deal to buy out Bruce Morrow and formed a partnership with radio industry executive Steve Hicks to take several stations public under SFX Broadcasting. When the United States Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed for ownership of multiple stations in single markets, they bought up enough stations to become the nation's seventh largest chain. In 1996 Hicks left to become president of Capstar Broadcasting, and with backing from his brother, Tom Hicks (of Texas buyout firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst), Steve Hicks bought SFX Broadcasting 71 radio stations for $2.1 billion in 1998.
Sillerman used this cash to build SFX Entertainment (concert promotion, sports agencies) into Europe, making money on Broadway with "The Producers", and turning SFX Entertainment into the world’s largest producer, promoter and presenter of live entertainment. He sold the company SFX, to Clear Channel for $4.4 billion in 2000.
In addition, through Flag Luxury Properties LLC, Sillerman invested disastrously in a proposed resort/real estate development on the Caribbean Island of Anguilla, originally slated to be named the Temenos Anguilla, a St. Regis Hotel resort, and incorporating a Greg Norman golf course to be opened in 2007, but, due to budgetary and quality control issues, St Regis pulled out. Sillerman attempted to rebrand the project as a Baccarat Hotel but this also failed. In May 2009, Credit Suisse filed a request for summary judgement in New York State Supreme Court, alleging Sillerman had failed to pay the outstanding balance due under a credit agreement with Flag Luxury Properties LLC and that Sillerman defaulted on a series of payments due since April 2008, totaling $21.4 million. The bank alleged that subsequent payments due also remained unpaid and the outstanding principal due under the first lien credit agreement was $137.2 million. The project (and golf course) have closed. In a July 2009 interview with the New York Post Sillerman admitted failure, stating with reference to the Flag project: "I’m not very knowledgeable about real estate."
Leading CKX, Inc., Sillerman bought majority rights to Graceland, the Elvis Presley estate; as well as the assets of Simon Fullers 19 Entertainment, whose assets include TV hit "American Idol". Apollo Management bought CKX in 2011.
On February 8, 2011 Sillerman announced an agreement to acquire control of Gateway Industries, Inc. (GWAY.PK). The transaction renamed the company to Function (X), Inc. and changing its listing on the stock exchange to FNCX.
Sillerman restarted SFX Entertainment in 2012, focusing on electronic dance music, including the acquisition of Beatport. In February 2014, a lawsuit was filed against Sillerman, for allegedly having defrauded a trio of business partners. The suit alleges that Mr. Sillerman in emails promised a joint partnership in which the plaintiffs would receive 2.5 million "founders shares" of SFX, which never materialized.
From 1993 Sillerman served as the Chancellor of the Southampton College of Long Island University, replacing Angier Biddle Duke. Sillerman took the job on two conditions: that the college scrap ill-defined liberal arts programs and focus on marine science and creative writing and that he be allowed to handle publicity. In that spirit, he named Kermit the Frog as the 1996 commencement speaker: 31 newspapers picked up the story, a free marketing bonanza that raised the college's profile and drew hundreds of new admissions. In 2000, Sillerman donated a $15 million gift through the Tomorrow Foundation to extent the library and for marine science scholarships.
- "Bio in the 2005 Forbes 400, he was #375". Forbes. 2005.
- "Robert F X Sillerman purchases WAFL NY-New Jersey Knights for $11 million". December 20, 1990.
- "United States SEC".
- "KJOI-FM's $75-Million Price an Industry Record: Station's Sale Key Part of $155-Million Ownership Shuffle That Also Affects KTWV, Westwood One". Los Angeles Times. 1988.
- "American Idol Sillerman Dealt Elvis Default Heartbreak in Vegas". Bloomberg. 2009.
- "Clear Channel buys SFX". CNN Money. 2000.
- "The Rugged Elegance Inspiration Network: Elvis Presley Enterprise's New Owner, Robert FX Sillerman Offers $100M: "Graceland" Daughter Lisa Marie Accepts!"
- NASDAQ (March 31, 2014). "Mobile app Viggle sets terms for $50 million NASDAQ listing".
- NASDAQ (August 7, 2014). "Viggle Inc. Records Best Month to Date".
- A Concert Mogul Is Betting on Electronic Dance Music
- "Music Managers Allege Deceit by SFX Founder". The Wall Street Journal. February 5, 2014.
- "Choosing honorary degree recipient an often-painstaking process". Post Gazette. 2014.
- "Long Island University Magazine". Long Island University. 2000.