King of Pop's estate gets late R12bn cheque

16 March 2016 - 02:08 By AFP

Sony said yesterday it will pay Michael Jackson's estate $750-million (almost R12-billion) for the late pop star's share of a music venture that owns the rights to songs by some of the biggest names in music history. The deal will see the Japanese firm pick up Jackson's 50% stake in Sony ATV Music Publishing, which owns several million titles, including those written by The Beatles, Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan. Sony will now control all of the company, whose catalogue also includes hits by Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Sam Smith and Lady Gaga. Sony ATV Music Publishing was formed in 1995 by the Japanese electronics giant and the late King of Pop. Jackson died in 2009 at the age of 50. His estate said it will still own his master recordings and the publishing company that owns all the songs he penned. It will also keep its stake in EMI Music. The singer, a notoriously profligate spender, turned to music publishing rights at the height of his stardom as he looked for a place to invest his burgeoning fortune. The proceeds from the catalogue offered vital revenue for the star later in his life, as he struggled to pay his expenses and released little new material. Jackson bought ATV Music Publishing in 1985 for $47.5-million, or about $105-million at 2016 value, from South African-born Australian tycoon Robert Holmes à Court. Catherine Holmes à Court was given the copyright to the song Penny Lane, which she continues to own today, one of the few Beatles' tracks not part of ATV. Jackson's will called for his mother, Katherine, and three children to be supported.

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