Michael Jackson estate nearing music catalog sale worth $800-$900 mn
Los Angeles (IANS) The Michael Jackson estate is in the process of selling half of its stake in the King of Pop’s music catalog for between $800 million and $900 million.
Three sources confirmed this to Variety.
According to Variety, Sony and a potential financial partner are negotiating to acquire 50% of the estate’s interests in Jackson’s publishing, recorded-music revenues, the ‘MJ: The Musical Broadway show, the upcoming biopic ‘Michael,’ and possibly more assets.
The deal would be the largest to date in the still-thriving music catalog market.
According to a financial source, Primary Wave Music already owns a stake in Jackson’s publishing catalog, though the specifics are unknown.
The Jackson estate, co-executors John Branca and John McClain, Sony, and Primary Wave refused Variety’s several requests for comment.
Sony has been involved in some of the biggest previous known catalog deals: It acquired Bruce Springsteen’s publishing and recorded-music catalogs for combined price sources said was around $600 million. Sources say the company also paid $150 million-$200 million for Bob Dylan’s rights to his recorded-music catalog, after seeing the legendary songwriter sell the rights to his publishing to Universal Music for nearly $400 million.
Such mega-deals have become common in recent years – the three core members of Genesis sold a catalog package to Concord for $300 million – but if the information is correct, the Jackson deal is by far the largest to date.
Sources would not confirm the financial partner in the deal, and it remains unclear whether one is involved, but likely suspects would include Eldridge Industries, which partnered with Sony on the Springsteen catalog deal and also acquired the Killers’ pre-2020 publishing catalog, and Shamrock, which recently partnered with Universal on a $200 million-plus catalog acquisition from Dr. Dre and in 2020 acquired the rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums from a consortium led by Scooter Braun.
Sony and its predecessor CBS were the sole home for Jackson’s recorded-music catalog for his entire solo career and the latter years of his career with the Jackson 5.
The singer died in 2009 at the age of 50, and his estate’s formidable entertainment interests have been handled with a firm hand by Branca, his longtime attorney, and co-executor John McClain.
Jackson’s recorded-music catalog is one of the most profitable in history; his 1982 ‘Thriller’ album alone is one of the two best-selling albums of all time and was the first to be certified 30-times platinum, though such figures have become muddled in the age of streaming.
Sony Corp. reached a $750 million agreement with the Jackson estate in 2016 to acquire the estate’s 50% stake in their 1995 joint venture, Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Sony revealed in an earnings report in 2018 that as part of its $2.3 billion acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, it had paid $287.5 million for the Jackson estate’s 25.1% stake in that company.
At the end of that long process, which had begun six years earlier but was not cleared by the European Union until 2018, EMI and Sony/ATV were fully owned by Sony, making it sole owner of the world’s largest music publishing company.