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Sony Music Buys Stake in Michael Jackson’s Catalog, Valuing Rights at $1.2+ Billion

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Sony Music has agreed to purchase half of Michael Jackson’s publishing and recorded masters catalog in a blockbuster deal valuing his music assets at over $1.2 billion, according to Billboard.

No exact figure is known at this time, but this means Sony will likely pay at least $600 million for its stake — though Billboard reports the valuation could be as high as $1.5 billion.

Regardless of the number, the Jackson deal is expected to be the largest-ever valuation of a musician’s music assets. Queen are currently seeking a $1.2 billion valuation for their recorded music, publishing, and other income streams like royalties from the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

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Sony’s deal with Jackson’s estate does not include royalties from Broadway’s MJ the Musical or other theatrical productions featuring the King of Pop’s music. However, the deal reportedly includes songs by other artists from his Mijac publishing catalog, including the likes of Sly & the Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, and Ray Charles.

The agreement follows a report from last year stating that the Jackson estate was seeking up to $900 million for a half stake. It appears Sony Music was able to negotiate a lower number, but $600 million to $750 million is hardly pocket change, either.

Sony was Jackson’s label throughout his solo career, and it formed Sony/ATV Music Publishing as part of a joint venture with the musician in 1995, which notably included Jackson’s share of The Beatles’ publishing. In 2016, Sony acquired sole ownership of Sony/ATV in a deal valued at around $750 million.

Next year, an Antoine Fuqua-directed Jackson biopic called Michael starring the late artist’s nephew, Jaafar Jackson, will be released in theaters.

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