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Sony buys stake in Michael Jackson’s catalogue in landmark deal

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Sony Music Group has reportedly purchased half of Michael Jackson‘s catalogue in a landmark deal.

According to Billboard, the company will fork out at least $600million (£475million) for its stake in the late star’s publishing and recorded masters catalogue, with sources valuing it at between $1.2billion and $1.5billion in total. However, no exact figure is known currently.

Should these numbers be accurate, the deal is expected to be the biggest-ever valuation of an artist’s music assets.

It is said that Sony’s deal with the Michael Jackson estate does not include royalties from Broadway’s MJ The Musical and other theatrical productions featuring the King Of Pop’s material.

But it reportedly includes songs by other acts from Jackson’s Mijac publishing catalogue such as Sly & The Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield and Ray Charles.

The deal, which Billboard said closed in late 2023, trumps the $1.2billion that Queen are currently seeking for their recorded music, publishing and other income streams like royalties from the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic.

Almost exactly one year ago, it was reported that the Michael Jackson estate was nearing a huge deal to sell half of its ownership in his catalogue. Three independent sources claimed at the time that it would carry a price tag of $800-900million.

Jackson was on Sony’s roster throughout his hugely successful solo career. In 1995, the singer joined forces with the label to form Sony/ATV Music Publishing – which included Jackson’s share of The Beatles’ publishing.

Back in 2016, Sony reached a deal with the Michael Jackson estate to purchase its 50 per cent stake in the Sony/ATV venture for $750million, and acquired sole ownership of it. Sony also acquired the estate’s 25.1 per cent stake in EMI Music Publishing when it took over the company in 2018.

In other news, the Michael Jackson estate is currently in a legal battle with the Las Vegas tribute act ‘MJ Live’.

Meanwhile, a Michael Jackon biopic titled Michael is set for release next year. The forthcoming film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, and will star the singer’s nephew Jaafar Jackson in the lead role.

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