Saturday, April 15, 2006

Jackson to Sell Beatles Catalog

Michael Jackson has restructured his finances to avoid declaring bankruptcy, his attorneys said yesterday in a statement. Although the deal's details have not been disclosed, Jackson will reportedly be selling half of his share of the Sony/ATV catalog -- with its significant share of the Beatles' recordings, as well as songs by Neil Diamond, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and others -- to Sony Corp., according to the New York Times. Jackson took out a $270 million loan from Bank of America, to continue to fund his wildly expensive lifestyle. The bank then sold the loan to Fortress Investment Group. As Jackson's trial on child molestation charges was about to begin early last year (he was acquitted last summer), his financial advisors reportedly began pressuring the singer to sell a significant share of the Sony catalog on order to pay off his mounting debts.According to the Times' unnamed sources close to the deal, proceeds from Jackson's sale of twenty-five percent of the catalog would go towards paying off Jackson's debt to Fortress, who would in turn offer the pop star a lower interest rate on the loan. Jackson purchased half of the catalog in 1985 for $47.5 million, and it is now valued at $1 billion.Sony has been in negotiations with Jackson and his representatives for some time now to broker a deal that would prevent the artist from declaring bankruptcy. If bankrupt, Jackson's half of the Sony/ATV catalog would be auctioned off, potentially pitting Sony against other companies in an all-out bidding war.After his acquittal in June, Jackson relocated to Bahrain, trailed by rumors of serious financial troubles, and shuttered his Neverland California ranch last month.He is currently at work on a new single with R. Kelly, Wyclef Jean and other artists. No official release date for the single, or a new studio album, has been set.


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