The sources confirmed that the estate of Michael Jackson is now selling half of its rights in the famous singer’s music library for an amount between $800 – $900 million. Sony and a potential financial partner are reportedly in negotiations to acquire half 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, though the specifics are unclear at this time.
In the ever-growing market for recorded music, this would be the single largest transaction ever. According to a financial source, Jackson’s publishing portfolio is already partially owned by Primary Wave Music.
newscase reached out to representatives for the Jackson estate, co-executors John Branca and John McClain, Sony, and Primary Wave, but all of them refused to comment.
When Sony bought Bruce Springsteen’s publishing and recorded-music portfolios, the price was said to be approximately $600 million, making it one of the largest catalogue purchases ever. Bob Dylan sold the publication rights to his library to Universal Music for approximately $400 million, and the corporation reportedly paid between $150 – $200 million to acquire those rights. These massive agreements have grown commonplace in recent years; for example, the three founding members of Genesis recently sold a catalogue bundle to Concord for $300 million. However, if the reports are true, the Jackson deal would be the largest of its kind to date.
A financial partner in the deal has not been confirmed, and it is still unclear if one is involved. However, Eldridge Industries, which partnered with Sony on the Springsteen catalogue deal and also acquired the Killers’ pre-2020 publishing catalogue, and Shamrock, which partnered with Universal on a $200 million-plus catalogue acquisition from Dr. Dre and acquired the rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums from Big Machine in 2020, are both strong candidates.
Wonderful memories kept alive forever. Listen to one of Michael Jackson’s songs and appreciate it
Throughout his solo career and the final years of Jackson 5’s career, Sony and its predecessor CBS was the exclusive home for Jackson’s recorded-music repertoire. The singer passed away in 2009 at the age of 50, and his longtime attorney and co-executor John McClain, Branca, has been handling his estate’s enormous entertainment holdings with a hard hand.
Even if such sales numbers are murky in the streaming era, Jackson’s recorded-music collection is one of the most profitable in history. His 1982 album “Thriller” is one of the two best sellers of all time and was the first album to be certified 30 times platinum.
Sony Corporation and the Jackson estate signed a $750 million deal in 2016 for Sony to buy the estate’s 50% ownership in their 1995-formed joint venture, Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The Jackson estate’s 25.1% share in EMI Music Publishing was bought by Sony for $287.5 million as part of the company’s $2.3 billion acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, as reported by Sony in its 2018 earnings report.
Six years after the deal was first announced, in 2018, the European Union finally gave its approval, making Sony the sole owner of the world’s biggest music publishing organisation, consisting of EMI and Sony/ATV.