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Simon Cowell's £200m fortune

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    Posted: 03 June 2011 at 12:27

How X Factor helped Simon Cowell to a £200m fortune

By Sally Hamilton
3 June 2011, 10:49am

With Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent and X Factor in the news again, our regular Celebrity Money series, focuses on the wealth of the music impresario.

Mr Nice: 'I'm interested only in making money, for myself and the people I work for'

 Simon Cowell is - would you believe it - making headlines again.

From sacking Cheryl Cole [How rich is Cheryl Cole?] in the first few days of the debut US series of X Factor last week to a fierce denial of any rigging going on in Britain's Got Talent.

The claims about BGT, which have been fiercely denied, suggest 12-year-old singer Ronan Parke, was already known to Cowell's production company Syco. Parke is the bookies favourite for tomorrow night's final.

Cowell, until now, has steered a shrewd path to mega-wealth through picking future popstars - but rejecting a few winners - and developing entertainment TV shows that can be sold the world-over.

Last month, he soared into the music top 10 of the Sunday Times Rich List, with an estimated fortune of £200m.

The Rich List editors estimated Cowell's wealth had increased by £35m on a year earlier, taking him from 11th place to 6th.

Rich List estimates of Cowell's wealth:

2011 - £200m (337)
2010 - £165m (398)
2009 - £120m (438)
2008 - £112m (717)
2007 - £100m (700)
2006 - £60m (944)

The success of X Factor, which has also helped revived the fortunes of struggling ITV, was credited for driving that increase in earnings. The launch of the show in the US will also boost his earnings further this year.

'Simon Cowell owns a share of the programmes he's involved in as well as being in front of the camera. He's busy behind the scenes and also responsible for many of the performers, so he's taking pots of money in all directions,' Rich List editor Ian Coxon told business news agency Bloomberg.

›› A detailed breakdown of how Simon Cowell's companies make money

The Britain's Got Talent and X Factor reality entertainment shows, which Cowell devised or certainly fine-tuned (in the case of the former), have propelled the 51-year-old's earnings through the sound barrier over the last few years.

It was revealed in October that he had signed a £100m deal to keep The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent on ITV for another three years.

The money will be split between the TV judge's company Syco and co-producers Talkback Thames. [Read the full story]

Cowell has been responsible for launching the careers and fortunes of contestants such as singers Susan Boyle [How rich is Susan Boyle? ] and Leona Lewis but he has been steadily feathering his own nest in the process.

Their albums, which sold in their millions, were produced by Cowell's own record label Syco.

Midas touch?: He signed hugely successful Westlife, but turned down Spice Girls and Take That

Although Syco is now part of Sony Music, and is said to generate the majority of the Japanese company's annual sales, Cowell is a co-owner and takes a bumper salary.

As part of a deal arranged last year, retail magnate Sir Philip Green has also been brought in as a shareholder and adviser to the venture, which is now the home of X Factor and Britain's Got Talent.

Cowell's earning power will also flourish this year thanks to the launch of the X Factor formula into the lucrative US market. But his influence over the show was bought into question when it was suggested that executives at Fox, the co-producers, were behind the sacking of Cheryl Cole.

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