Sony has agreed to acquire half of Michael Jackson’s publishing and recording catalog.
In what is likely the largest transaction for a solo musician’s entire body of work, Sony has struck a deal to acquire half of Michael Jackson’s publishing rights and recorded masters.
The deal values the music assets at more than $1.2 billion, sources told Billboard. The newspaper also estimates that Sony will pay at least $600 million for its stake. An attorney for Jackson’s estate declined to comment to WECB.
Last February, Variety reported that Jackson’s estate was in negotiations for $800 million to $900 million for half of its interest in the singer’s music catalog. At the time, Billboard had estimated that the estate earned about $75 million a year, with assets including ownership of original recordings, Jackson’s publishing of his songs, the singer’s Mijac publishing catalog, and royalties from performances theatrical performances based on his iconic music.
In 2016, 21 years after Jackson and Sony founded Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony purchased half of the company from Jackson’s estate for $750 million. Jackson first acquired ATV Music Publishing, which held the publishing rights to the majority of the Beatles’ music, in 1985 for $41.5 million. The singer merged his stake in ATV with Sony Music to form Sony/ATV eleven years later.
Although Michael Jackson faced multiple allegations of child sexual abuse, he continues to be one of the best-selling artists of all time. These allegations came under renewed scrutiny following the 2019 release of the HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland, in which Wade Robson and James Safechuck claim that Jackson, who died in 2009, sexually abused them for years when they were children. Jackson and his estate have repeatedly denied the allegations.