Marketing firm buys interest in Ali’s name


NEW YORK (AP) – Muhammad Ali, one of the world’s most recognized people, has sold 80 percent of the marketing rights to his name and likeness to a firm for $50 million.

The 64-year-old former heavyweight champion, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, will retain a 20 percent interest in the business. The new venture will be operated by a company called G.O.A.T. LLC, an acronym for “The Greatest of All Time.”

Ali and wife Lonnie are expected to work with CKX, Inc. to market his interests around the world. The deal includes trademarks owned by the boxing great.

“This relationship with CKX will help guarantee that, for generations to come, people of all nations will understand my beliefs and my purpose,” Ali said in a statement issued Tuesday by the company. “I am honored to be able to partner with CKX as they continue to grow.”

CKX has concentrated primarily on entertainment and holds the rights to the IDOLS television brand, which includes the show “American Idol.” It also holds the rights to Elvis Presley’s marketing, and has an interest in the operations of Graceland, Presley’s Memphis, Tenn., home.