All Shook Up: Under New Ownership, Elvis Gets a Brand Refresh

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Three of the 20th century’s biggest icons all now share one manager. Authentic Brands Group, which already had Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali in its stable, has bought the intellectual property of Elvis Presley, giving it a pop-culture trifecta of sorts.

Whether it will reap a huge profit from the addition of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll remains to be seen. ABG not only bought the properties from CORE Media Group, but also is now a partner with National Entertainment Collectibles Association founder Joel Weinshanker and the Presley family to run Graceland, Elvis’s famed home, the Associated Press reports. The home itself and its furnishings are solely possessed by Elvis’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.

“We look forward to working with the ABG team to further promote the legacy of Elvis,” Elvis’s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, said in a statement. “This is the opportunity the family has been envisioning to expand the Graceland experience and enhance Elvis’s image all over the world.”

It’s hard to believe Elvis’s legacy needs much more promotion. As it is, more than 500,000 people head to Memphis each year to tour his home and the licensing business for his name brings in about $32 million annually. A price for the deal was not disclosed. CORE bought the 85 percent stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises back in 2005 for $114 million when the company was known as CKX, CNN reports.

According to Fox News, the purchase could mean potential upgrades to Graceland. “Suffice it to say, it is as we all know, one of America’s most visited spots and we would like it to be visited more,” Nick Woodhouse, president and chief marketing officer of Authentic Brands Group, said. Woodhouse also notes that the Elvis brand itself could use a facelift, pointing out that putting Presley’s face on Dolce & Gabbana T-shirts, as has been done with James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, could bring an influx of cash.

ABG also is hoping that it can attract a younger demographic to Elvis gear as well. “The Facebook sweet spot is probably not what people would assume is the original Elvis fan,” Woodhouse said, according to Fox News. “Clearly, he resonates on social media and he resonates on other more modern platforms as well.”

Long live the King!

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