Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali has sold an 80 per cent interest in his name and image to New York-based entertainment firm CKX for $68.5 million.

In the deal CKX gets an 80 per cent share in the name, likeness and related rights of the man sometimes called the greatest athlete of the 20th century.

Ali and his family will retain the remaining 20 per cent.

CKX, which focuses on entertainment-related marketing, already has a major interest in the name and related properties of Elvis Presley, including operating the rock-and-roll great’s Graceland mansion.

It also has rights related to American Idol, the leading US television show.

In the deal completed yesterday, CKX said the Ali name rights and related trademarks will be operated by a new company GOAT LLC, which stands for "Greatest Of All Time", in which CKX will hold an 80 per cent controlling interest.

Muhammad Ali ... the name's a gold mine.
Ali, who suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease, will control the rest through his wife Yolanda, who oversees his business interests.

The Ali name has generated $4 million to $7 million annually in revenue from endorsement and licensing arrangements for the boxer and his family, CKX said.

"Muhammad Ali is truly the Greatest of All Time. Very few individuals have so dedicated their focus to promoting social well-being on a global basis," said Robert Sillerman, CKX chairman and chief executive, referring to Ali’s extensive charity work abroad since his retirement.

"While we all recognise that Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest athletes of all time, his achievements outside of the boxing ring are certainly as great as his ascent to three-time world heavyweight champion."