Sony agreed to acquire half of the artist’s publishing and recorded masters catalog
In what is likely the largest transaction for a solo musician’s body of work, Sony completed an agreement to acquire half of Michael Jackson‘s publishing and recorded masters.
The deal values the music assets at above $1.2 billion, sources told Billboard. The outlet also estimated that Sony will pay at least $600 million for its stake. Representatives for Jackson’s estate did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
Last February, Variety reported that Jackson’s estate was in negotiations seeking $800 million-$900 million for half of its interests in the singer’s music catalog. At the time, Billboard assessed that the estate earned about $75 million annually, with assets including ownership of master recordings, publishing for Jackson’s share of his songs, the singer’s Mijac publishing catalog, and royalties from theatrical shows based on his iconic music.
In 2016, 21 years after Jackson and Sony formed Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony bought out his half of the company in a deal netting the Jackson estate $750 million. Jackson first acquired ATV Music Publishing, which owned 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 Jackson’s legacy has faced multiple allegations of child sexual abuse, he continues to be one of best-selling artists of all time. These claims were the subject of renewed scrutiny following the 2019 release of HBO’s documentary, Leaving Neverland, in which Wade Robson and James Safechuck claimed Jackson, who died in 2009, groomed and sexually abused them for years while they were boys. Jackson and his estate have repeatedly denied the allegations.