Singer’s estate involved in estimated $90 million deal

It’s likely that few of us follow the details of business deals in the music world. That’s why when it was recently announced that BMG (the world’s fourth largest music label) had acquired a collection of music catalogs from EMI Music Publishing and Sony/ATV that feature some prominent pop hits from the 1980s, few people sat up and paid attention.

But a closer look at the deal reveals some fascinating details. For instance, Sony/ATV is a joint venture between Sony and the estate of Michael Jackson. This latest deal, estimated at about $90 million, puts the latest singer’s estate firmly in the black — quite a feat of savvy estate administration.

You might recall that when Jackson died three years ago, he left a mountain of debts some observers estimated at a half-billion dollars.

Now his estate is said to be not only free of debt, but reportedly making deals that could net it many millions of dollars in the future.

This past summer Sony/ATV made an enormous purchase, buying up EMI’s music publishing branch for an estimated $2.2 billion.

Last month, there were media reports that Jackson’s estate had finally paid off the last of its obligations, right on the eve of director Spike Lee’s release of his documentary, “Bad 25,” about the late singer’s popular album.

The singer’s estate has scored a number of financial successes, including a $60 million advance on a top-grossing concert film (“This Is It”), a quarter-billion-dollar deal with Sony and an enormously successful Cirque du Soleil show about Jackson.

Few estates are as complex as Jackson’s, but each one presents its own set of unique challenges that can be best met with the aid of an experienced Florida probate attorney.

Source: Hollywood Reporter, “BMG Buys Virgin, Famous Music Catalog From Sony/ATV,” Dec. 21, 2012

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