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Michael Jackson’s financial success would be the worst punishment for his haters

February 23, 2011

Guys, there are moments in life when different small things from here and there suddenly come together and answer a question you’ve been long unable to solve. I think this happened to one of the riddles that has been on my mind for a long time now.

The process of putting things together started when I recently read John Branca’s reply to an article by Roger Friedman called “Michael Jackson song catalog will moonwalk to Sony”. Friedman was speaking there of Michael’s own songs known as “Mijac” and them being taken over by Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Here is the short of the article:

02/16/11 12:08pm Roger Friedman

For all these years, Michael’s MiJac Publishing has been administered by Warner Chappell, part of what is now Warner Music Group. MiJac includes not only Michael’s hits that he wrote, like “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” but a vast number of other hits including those of Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, and Sly and the Family Stone.

Warner Chappell doesn’t own MiJac but it administers the rights to it and collects hefty fees. With WMG for sale, and talk of Warner Chappell being sold off, MiJac would seem like an integral part of their story.

But there’s a hitch that I can reveal to you: MiJac is leaving Warner Chappell and going to become part of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the company that Michael Jackson’s estate co-owns with Sony and contains the Beatles catalog.

According to sources, this arrangement was written into the MiJac contract with Warner Chappell years ago. It would be triggered by the release of the next Jackson album–in this case, the recent “Michael”–and the repayment of loans.

Full story:

The comments on the article naturally contained the all-too-common-now-slogan: ”They want my catalog and they will kill me for it” (Michael Jackson).

As a result some fans apparently started bombarding the attorneys working for Michael Jackson Estate, and apparently with indignant questions too, so that John Branca had to make an official clarification and asked fans to make it available to all those who were asking similar questions. Since all of us are interested here is John Branca’s answer in full:

—– Forwarded Message
From: John Branca
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2011 15:18:31 -0600
To: Jeff *****
Subject: Michael Jackson/Mijac


I understand that you are being asked a lot of questions about Mijac.

Yes, there is a matching right that Michael granted to Sony/ATV but they only get to administer the catalog for a limited term AND only if they agree to unprecedented favorable terms. We will not relinquish ultimate control and ownership to anyone. We have favorably refinanced the loans on Mijac which will be paid off and the catalog WILL absolutely be passed to Michael’s children as long as we have anything to say about it.

Sony/ATV is a great company and the Estate owns half of it but no one, not even Sony/ATV, will ever own Mijac while John McClain and I remain in charge.

The current Sony team is the one Michael chose to work with on the Thriller 25 release and they are good partners. As stated in the recent court filings, they worked with us to refinance the burdensome debt that had been placed on Michael’s interest in Sony/ATV to very favorable terms, an important achievement which insures that Mijac and Michael’s masters remain secure for the benefit of Michael’s children for years to come.

I would appreciate your sharing this with the fans that are asking questions.

Thanks – John

John Branca
The Estate Of Michael Jackson
Los Angeles, CA

So the information we’ve learned from this letter is as follows:

  • the only thing Sony/ATV is doing with the Mijac catalog is administering it, which is not much different from the previous arrangement with Warner Chappell
  • only this time the job is being done by a company which is 50% Michael Jackson’s own company which is a definite improvement over the previous arrangement
  • and the administering is being done on unprecedented favorable terms
  • it will be temporary only
  • and the most important thing of all is that Michael Jackson’s songs will absolutely be passed to Michael’s children who will become their sole owners, as long as the present attorneys have anything to say about it (Oh Lord, bless John Branca and make him strong and healthy, please).

We also find out that there were some loans on Mijac which are now being favorably refinanced and this will make it possible to fully repay them off and that there was a burdensome debt placed on Michael’s stake in the Sony/ATV partnership which the current Sony team helped to refinance on favorable terms too.

Okay, let us keep our fingers crossed…

The first thing I did after reading John Branca’s answer was posting it as a comment on Friedman’s article – this was done early in the morning the day before yesterday but up till now the comment is “awaiting moderation”. Well, let them read Branca’s reply as long as they need – I hope one day they will have the decency to post the official Estate’s reply to what Roger Friedman wrote in his article…

This was where this short essay sorting out our small financial misunderstanding was meant to close – however at that point some more news arrived through my correspondence with the co-eds which,  though devoted to a completely different subject, suddenly fit into the picture of Michael’s finances and the gruesome way they were reported during his life and death. And all this motley of information suddenly fused together and gave me a better understanding of WHY Michael’s finances were always reported that way and not the way the situation really was.

The first piece of news which shed some light on Michael Jackson’s financial picture and the “unbiased” way it was portrayed by the media was the story Ed Bradley told Larry King about the events surrounding his interview with Michael Jackson in December 2003. The story is a complete marvel as it clarifies several important issues simultaneously –  however I will try hard to focus on its financial part only.

Below is an excerpt from the interview. But first let us pay attention to the dates discussed there – Ed Bradley talks to Larry King on February 4, 2004.

His own interview with Michael Jackson took place a few months before that, on Christmas day, December 2003 which followed the Neverland raid, Michael’s arrest, handcuffs and release on bail (after keeping him in a feces-smeared restroom for more than 45 minutes as you remember).

However it turns out that initially Ed Bradley’s interview was scheduled for the beginning of the same year,  February 1st or 2nd, 2003 and this is what makes his story so very interesting.

So on February 4, 2004 Larry King was talking to Ed Bradley:

KING: The Jackson interview. How did it happen?
BRADLEY: You know, the Michael Jackson interview is an interview that we have been working on for more than a year. Last February I was out at Neverland, we had been working on it for some months at that time. I went out with my crews, producer, associate producer, sat down with Michael, just the two of us in a room. Left everybody outside and talked for about half an hour.

KING: Months ago?
BRADLEY: This is last February, almost a year ago. And Michael said, fine. I’m going to trust you. And he told me how his trust had been betrayed by other journalists. And I just said, look, you know me, you know my work. If you want to do this, fine, if not, I understand. And he said, I’m going to trust you and go upstairs and get ready for the interview.
His guys told me that could take an hour and a half to two hours because he’ll have to get made up, his clothes. When I talked to him he had on a pajama top, he had pants on, but he had a pajama top on.
KING: This is the day of the interview or months before.
BRADLEY: This is in February. We were going to do this interview that day.
KING: I see.
BRADLEY: I say to my guys, bring in the camera gear, set up and he’ll be down in an hour or so. And, as I was told later, when he was just about made up and dressed, someone came in with a phone and said, you’ve got a call from Marlon Brando. Brando told him that the deposition, which had been sealed in 1992 [1993 is the correct year] from the first case when he was accused of child molestation…
KING: And settled.
BRADLEY: Settled so that it would be kept secret. Brando told him that that deposition had been released. It was on the Internet and it would be all over the world by tomorrow and it would be in the tabloids in the United States the next day. Michael Jackson, we never saw him again.

Let me interrupt them for a second and explain that these guys are unfortunately spreading tabloid lies without knowing it.

Ed Bradley speaks of Jordan Chandler’s declaration or just a statement as if it were a deposition – which it was not! A deposition is made in the presence of lawyers from both sides who ask questions and it is recorded in the form of a word-for-word transcript the way it is done in court. Jordan Chandler never made such a deposition. His declaration was nothing but a piece of paper typed in Larry Feldman’s office as a summary of what he supposedly said and was signed by we don’t know who. The paper was not even verified by any of the attorneys and bears none of their signatures! (For more info on this, please read this post.)

True, the original text of Jordan Chandler’s declaration was unknown to the public as all documents prior to the confidentiality agreement are usually sealed and become null and void as soon as the agreement (any business agreement) is signed. The lawyers who sign it are bound by the confidentiality of it in the interests of their clients and if they break the confidentiality clause they usually quickly lose their reputation of credible lawyers.

In this case Jordan Chandler’s declaration was leaked either by Larry Feldman himself or by one of his associates (according to Ray Chandler’s book) which alone speaks volumes about the “impartiality” of these lawyers and even more volumes about their professional integrity.

And please note that the parties under the 1994 agreement didn’t settle “to keep it secret” – the essence of the case was well known to everyone already in 1993, as it repeated the earlier disclosed text of the civil suit and its gist was all over the media to exert unprecedented psychological pressure on Jackson at the end of 1993.

So releasing the original text of Jordan Chandler ten years later, in 2003, was nothing but a professional crime by Larry Feldman and his company committed with the sole intention to smear Michael Jackson on the very day Bashir’s documentary aired in the US and most probably to prompt the future accuser the correct words of “abuse” he should use in his future case…

Back to the interview now:

BRADLEY: Brando told him that that deposition [declaration!] had been released. It was on the Internet and it would be all over the world by tomorrow and it would be in the tabloids in the United States the next day. Michael Jackson, we never saw him again. He didn’t say I’m not going to do the interview, he just disappeared.

KING: Someone came and told you.
BRADLEY: We sat there for hours waiting. It was his people. Mark Geragos just started at the head of his legal team at that time.
KING: This was before the charges were brought, now, way before.
BRADLEY: Oh, yes. In fact, the kid who is now charging him and his mother were there that day.
KING: Really?

BRADLEY: We sat in the kitchen having coffee and doughnuts and sodas and his mother and the kids said they were willing to go on television to say what a great person Michael Jackson was.

Please allow me a short note again – so back in February 2003 just prior to the day when Bashir’s documentary would air and Jordan’s declaration would be released (as this was done on one and the same day) the Arvizos were sitting in the kitchen eating doughnuts, praising Michael Jackson and saying they were willing to go on TV to say how great a guy he was!

So much for all their later accusations, and their alleged unwillingness to do a rebuttal video and them being held captive because of that video….

Now we find out from an independent TV CBS host that they were willing to go on television to say what a great person Michael was!

And Ed Bradley didn’t record their conversation only because he was waiting for an interview with Michael Jackson then and couldn’t possibly know or even expect that this particular family would accuse Michael of all those atrocities later – otherwise we would have had an exclusive, spontaneous and independent rebuttal video from Ed Bradley!  Oh my God….

KING: Wow. Hold it right there. And Brando was wrong, right?
BRADLEY: Well no, because the deposition [declaration] wasn’t…
KING: Was it released?
BRADLEY: It was released. And it was all over the tabloids the next day.
KING: Oh, was it. All right, and then what happened?

BRADLEY: We sat there and he just never showed up. By that night I went back to Los Angeles. We went back out the next day and talked to them and it just never happened. So, it never went away completely. It was always there. And then when it surfaced again after these charges, he decided that he wanted to talk to me.
KING: He contacted you?
BRADLEY: We were in contact with Mark Geragos. And they said, OK. We didn’t talk to Michael directly. They said, fine, come out on Wednesday. This is a day before Christmas. So, I had my Christmas vacation plans and they just went out the window and I flew to Los Angeles and went to the hotel where we were supposed to interview him and they said this is going to happen at 3:00 and then they said 4:00 and then 5:00 and then 6:00 and at 7:00 they said, well it will happen tomorrow.
KING: Here we go again.
BRADLEY: It was Christmas day. So Christmas day we went out and set up again and then, again, it was a long wait through the day and late in the afternoon, early evening, Michael came into the room. He was made up and dressed for the interview and he was very, he is very soft spoken. He was on the surface very considerate of everyone else in the room. Makes eye contact, says hello to members of the crew, waves at everybody and sits down.
KING: Personable.
BRADLEY: Yes. But then he’s also checking to see how he looks in the monitor. He is a performer, has he has been all of his life. 

Now comes the financial issue at last:

KING: Right there. The story that appears in the “New York Times” is he says, first we have to make this deal. We need the money more on a live television show.

BRADLEY: Never happened. 

KING: Nothing like that ever — “New York Times” story was completely wrong.

BRADLEY: Completely wrong. Completely wrong. The “New York Times” story which was based on something that happened a year ago in February when we were at Neverland that this person said, we have to have more money for Michael.

KING: That was then.

BRADLEY: The quote was put in my mouth in the “New York Times” story saying “I said, don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.” Who said I said that? The person they attributed that quote to was described as a disgruntled former Jackson associate, unnamed, who felt that he was owed money. Now, that’s not a very credible source. What bothered me was that they never contacted me directly to say, “did you say that?” 

KING: Never called you?

BRADLEY: They called — by the time they were ready to write this story we had finished the interview and I had gone on vacation. They called the CBS PR people and said, can we talk to Bradley? Bradley’s on vacation. They never said, here’s a quote. This is what they’re saying that Ed Bradley said, how does he respond to that?

KING: Back to a year ago, a year ago back in February, when they didn’t do it, did he say at that time, I want more money?


KING: Did he say, I’m doing the special, you must run it?

BRADLEY: No, this was a year before the special.

KING: The special hadn’t even been thought of?

BRADLEY: No, the special hadn’t been thought of. Maybe it had been thought of, but I didn’t know about it.

KING: Money was never mentioned?

BRADLEY: Money was not a factor. What happened a year ago was that when Marlon Brando told him that the deposition [declaration] was being made public he freaked out and he didn’t want to see anyone.

KING: So when you read the story, what did you think?

BRADLEY: I said, it’s a lie. I never said that. Who was the person who said I said that? Name him. 

KING: Were you shocked that the “New York Times” ran that? I mean, here’s a pillar of journalism.

BRADLEY: You know, I expected more from them, frankly. I mean, if I had a quote from an anonymous source for a story I’m doing at “60 Minutes,” I couldn’t use that quote without contacting the person who’s quoted in that story in saying, this is what they say about you. We couldn’t do that.

KING: To your knowledge, is there any content between CBS Entertainment and CBS News where Entertainment could say do us a quid pro quo?

BRADLEY: No, there is no quid pro quo. There was no quid pro quo with Michael Jackson. CBS did not pay for the interview. CBS did not sweeten the pot. In other words, CBS did not say, OK, we paid you so much with a special, do the interview and we’ll pay you more for the special.

KING: Never happened.

BRADLEY: Never happened. Now, was there someone there from CBS Entertainment? Yes, because he knew Michael Jackson, having done the special with him and knew Michael Jackson’s people and he was a liaison with us, but he had nothing to do with the interview.

KING: Were they not going to run this special unless he did the interview?

BRADLEY: I don’t think they were going to run the special unless he answered the questions. Now it was his choice as to where he chooses, which forum he chooses to answer the questions. Now, would they prefer that he do it on “60 Minutes?” You bet.

KING: Back to last February when you met the mother and the kid, what did you think when you heard it was that mother and that kid?

BRADLEY: I was stunned because they were there to tell me that day what a great person he was. 

KING: Were you going to put them on camera?

BRADLEY: We hadn’t gone that far.

KING: Might you have?

BRADLEY: I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I don’t know. The kid was in the documentary that the BBC — not BBC, but the English program did. I forget his name now.

KING: But you were shocked that the kid — that was the kid?

BRADLEY: I was shocked that that was the kid because both the child and his mother were praising Michael and were sitting there in his kitchen eating and saying what a great person he was. 

Thanks to Thetis we now have a video of the above conversation:

Let me sum what we’ve just heard and read, in addition to the great first-hand information from Ed Bradley about the Arvizos speaking highly of Michael and willing to go on TV to say that.

The New York Times, which is “the pillar of journalism”, as Larry King calls it, made up a fictional story that Ed Bradley couldn’t make the first interview with Michael Jackson in February 2003 because “he asked for more money” and Ed Bradley allegedly said to Michael that “he would take care of it”.

In reality, CBS did not pay Michael any money for the interview, it was Michael who was selecting whom to talk to – he chose CBS and Ed Bradley because he evidently trusted him and the money issue was never discussed between them at all. And nobody from that “pillar of journalism” ever checked with Ed Bradley whether he had ever discussed money with Jackson, which surprised Ed Bradley immensely – he never expected anything like that from the New York Times …

How does this small story about a conversation which never took place fit into Michael Jackson’s financial story? And what do you think? Why would the New York Times lie that Michael “wanted more money”? Could it be a chance mistake on their part? Or was it done deliberately to subtly convey to their readers that Michael arranged all that “year-long bargaining” with CBS due to him being in dire straits – though the real reason for the first interview cancellation was Larry Feldman who infringed the confidentiality of the agreement and the interests of his client Jordan Chandler (though he was supposed to be a guarantor of them).

To check up my version of the desire of the “pillar of journalism” to show Michael bankrupt I decided to have a look at what the New York Times wrote about Michael Jackson in February 2004 – exactly at the time when Ed Bradley talked to Larry King. And the news they were reporting lived up to my worst expectations of it:

Michael Jackson Faces Cash Crisis

Published: February 12, 2004

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11 — Michael Jackson is near insolvency as he continues to pile up debt, sapping his last credit reserves, several close financial advisers say.

Mr. Jackson faces an immediate cash crisis with a $70 million loan from the Bank of America that is due on Tuesday and has no money to repay it, the advisers said. But Al Malnik, a Miami entrepreneur who is helping repair Mr. Jackson’s finances, said that he was trying to have the loan extended.

Mr. Malnik said he met with Mr. Jackson’s business managers this week to discuss the loan. Together, he said, they were ”working toward a positive resolution of Michael’s financial affairs and business affairs that will result in a reorganization of his valuable assets.”

The child molestation charges against Mr. Jackson and allegations that the Nation of Islam, the black separatist group, is involved in his affairs have scared banks off and hurt his ability to make more money, the Jackson advisers said. Banks were particularly reluctant to extend him credit, they said, because of reports that a senior member of the Nation of Islam, Leonard Muhammad, was controlling Mr. Jackson’s finances. Mr. Muhammad, who has a series of failed businesses in his past, hung up the telephone on a reporter who called for comment.

Mr. Malnik is a multimillionaire who in 1993 was alleged to have had ties to the mob, an accusation he denied. He is the owner of a national chain of loan stores, Title Loans of America, which consumer advocates have criticized as lending at exorbitant rates.

At least two groups of investors who were prepared to make business deals with Mr. Jackson last year have backed away from them because of the criminal charges, people involved in the deals say. At the same time new sources of income for Mr. Jackson in the form of records or concert tours seem to be out of the question until the molestation charges are resolved. Mr. Jackson is accused of nine felony counts related to acts involving a 13-year-old boy. His lawyers are to appear in court on Friday to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

One adviser said that Mr. Jackson had about a half-dozen sources of income, including royalties from BMI and other music companies. But his most valuable asset by far is the Beatles catalog of about 250 songs, which Mr. Jackson and Sony Music Entertainment jointly own as part of the ATV Music Publishing catalog, with an estimated value of $800 million to $900 million. The catalog of Mr. Jackson’s own music, including hits like ”Billie Jean” and ”Beat It,” has an estimated value of $75 million to $90 million.

Mr. Malnik said that he was helping Mr. Jackson out of friendship. The loan is guaranteed by the Jackson music catalog, which would revert to the Bank of America if Mr. Jackson defaulted, said several of his advisers.

Mr. Malnik and Charles Koppelman, a business manager for Mr. Jackson, hope to extend the loan’s due date to December 2005, now with the backing of a New York-based hedge fund, the advisers said. If Mr. Jackson were to default in 2005, the hedge fund would take over the Jackson-music catalog.

State financial filings in California show that Mr. Jackson owes millions of dollars to the Bank of America. In addition to the $70 million loan, there is also a $200 million loan, guaranteed by the ATV music catalog that he owns with Sony. But the Jackson advisers said that asset was also leveraged for an additional $250 million to buy other music libraries by other stars.

It is unclear what Mr. Jackson would do if that money was used up. One adviser said that Mr. Jackson did not seem to realize that his music no longer pulled in the millions in royalties that it once did, because of depressed sales in the music industry.

Even now, half the money earned by Mr. Jackson goes to the bank under the loan agreement. ”All of the funds coming into the bank as income from projects and music royalties, the bank retains 50 percent of that to retain a credit line,” one adviser said. ”He can use the other 50 percent.”

As part of the terms of the two loans, Mr. Malnik must act as a trustee over Mr. Jackson’s spending. Mr. Malnik became involved with Mr. Jackson a year ago when he faced bankruptcy from creditors, including hotel chains and security companies.

Mr. Malnik said that the bank was about to place a lien on Neverland and other assets last year when he stepped in. Mr. Malnik was linked to organized-crime figures in 1993 by a New Jersey gaming commission. ”The evidence establishes that Mr. Malnik associated with persons engaged in organized criminal activities,” the commission said in a report, ”and that he himself participated in transactions that were clearly illegitimate and illegal.”

Well, it is customary for all anti-Jackson articles to close with allegations of him being tied to some “criminals”. During the November 18, 2003 raid they heavily linked Michael to Anthony Pellicano who was imprisoned just at the time, and in February 2004 they made similar innuendoes as regards Al Malnik and his “links with organized crime”.

I suddenly remembered that Tom Sneddon was planning to use the allegations against Al Malnik as one of those 14 items he wanted  introduced in court (including someone’s dirty underpants left in Neverland and specially stored in a laundry bag for the police to arrive and pick them) – I am talking about the 14 items discussed in an earlier post here.

However let’s get back to the main message of the article – they say that Michael is nearly insolvent and this makes me believe that the New York Times did indeed fake the story of Michael bargaining with Ed Bradley with the only purpose to gleefully announce that Michael was on the verge of bankruptcy – otherwise why all this fuss?

One paragraph caught my attention though:

  • “In addition to the $70 million loan, there is also a $200 million loan, guaranteed by the ATV music catalog that he owns with Sony. But the Jackson advisers said that asset was also leveraged for an additional $250 million to buy other music libraries by other stars.
  • Even now, half the money earned by Mr. Jackson goes to the bank under the loan agreement. ”.

What’s so special about the words said by Jackson’s advisers? It is the fact that the multimillion loan was used as a leverage to buy another library by other stars and that the money earned by Jackson partially went into repaying that loan agreement…

It reminded me of a reply of one knowledgeable reader to the recent Forbes article (Jan. 2011) “Michael Jackson: Secret Business Genius?” who wrote exactly about the same – he said that Michael’s debt to the Bank of America was not actually a debt at all, but a business loan made for a big purchase, the profit of which would go to the bank to repay the loan itself!

This is what he said:

  • “The debt you mentioned is actually a BUSINESS LOAN which he made ($300 million USD) in order to purchase a 2nd, much modern music catalog in 2006-2007. This is not extraordinary when you have assets worth 1 billion and above, Donald Trump has more loans than he does. Based on the terms of the loan with Bank of America, that loan is being paid for monthly for a span of 6 years, and he did it by funneling the earnings of the NEW catalog he bought to pay for the loan itself. If you realize what he is doing, that is another genius move he adopted from his great businessmen friends– taking advantage of LEVERAGE. Acquiring something without letting out a single centavo of your own money”.

Isn’t it interesting that though the New York Times went out of their way to lie about Michael’s finances and show how insolvent MJ was, they also mentioned some truthful information from Michael’s advisors about the actual deal Michael Jackson had made with the help of that loan?

This second big musical catalog acquired by Michael Jackson (and Sony/ATV as his partner) is being discussed by the Guardian article in May 2007, which is approximately the time when the deal was actually made:

Jackson buys Eminem rights

Rosie Swash, Thursday 31 May 2007 16.33 BST

Michael Jackson now owns the rights to Eminem’s back catalogue, after his partnership company Sony/ATV purchased the publishing company Famous Music for $370 million.

Bjork, Shakira and Beck are also among the many artists whose publishing rights were sold by Viacom, of which Famous Music is a subsidiary, at auction yesterday afternoon.

The acquisition comes just months after speculation that Jackson would be forced to give up the rights to the Beatles back catalogue because he was facing bankruptcy. Yesterday’s deal means Sony/ATV own the rights to over 125,000 songs, of which Eminem is one of the most high-profile and profitable. In an interesting twist, Jackson once attempted to have the video to Eminem’s song Just Lose It taken down because it features the rapper dressed as Jackson and later rapping the words: “Come here little kiddies on my lap / Guess who’s back with a brand new rap / And I don’t mean rap as in a new case of child investigation accusate.”

Speaking about yesterday’s acquisition, Sony/ATV CEO Martin N. Bandier said: “The Famous Music catalogue is a world-class asset filled with evergreen songs that people know and love. The depth and breadth of the catalogue is what truly makes it great.”

Another article quotes Michael Jackson speaking about this new acquisition:

Michael Jackson Buys Rights to Eminem’s Catalog

Thursday May 31, 2007

I remember when Michael Jackson raised hell over Eminem’s parody of the Gloved One the music clip for “Just Lose It.” Em basically told Jacko to lighten up, it was all in good humor after all. Well, I wonder how the Slim Shady feels now that Michael Jackson owns the rights to two of his biggest hits: “Without Me” and “The Real Slim Shady.”

Jackson, who owns a stake in The Beatles’ catalog, recently acquired Famous Music LLC from Viacom. The new purchase grants him copyright access to the aforementioned Eminem songs, in addition to songs by Beck, Shakira and Bjork.

“This is a milestone event for Sony/ATV Music Publishing,” said Jackson in a statement. “The diverse collection of songs in this catalog range from timeless classics to contemporary hits, and I am pleased to add the acquisition of Famous Music to Sony/ ATV.”

More information about this major new music catalog and other catalogs Michael acquired in partnership with Sony/ATV Music Publishing is provided by Wikipedia and is told in short by the knowledgeable readers of the Forbes article mentioned earlier:

“libelfreezone” says:

  • In 1995, Jackson merged his Northern Songs catalog with Sony’s publishing division creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing. This deal gave Jackson half ownership in Northern Songs as well as half ownership in Sony/ATV. It also included distribution rights to thousands of more songs. With the merger, Sony/ATV became the third largest music publishing venture in the world. Both Jackson and the Sony people were equal partners and vowed to become the world’s largest catalog.

Late in 2001, Jackson and Sony acquired Tony Martin’s Baby Mae Music catalog of 600 songs.

In July 2002, they bought country music publisher Acuff-Rose for $157 million. The venture included publishing rights to 55,000 songs.

And in November 2007, Jackson and Sony bought Famous Music LLC from Viacom. This deal gave the King of Pop rights to songs by Eminem, Shakira and Beck, among others. The venture included the assumption of a $30 million debt. They purchased the business for $370 million.

  • Bottom line. If Jackson was debt ridden, it makes more sense to believe his indebtedness of “$500 million” resulted from acquiring multi-million dollar ventures, and not, as media myth makers would have it, “lavish spending.”

“John 1968” says:

  • “The ATV catalog is much more than Beatles songs, its thousands and thousands of songs that were popular in the 50s, 60s 70s and 80s. Add the 2nd modern catalog and you have virtually EVERYONE who is ANYONE in the music industry right now: Taylor Swift, Eminem, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber songs which his estate is profiting from right now. He doesn’t even need to release new music because he earns from virtually everyone in the TOP 10 of billboard artists year after year. He bought this 2nd catalog WAY BEFORE these names became famous which means he had perfect unbeatable foresight.

Its very easy to believe tabloid stuff about his finances but isnt it funny that tabloids have been reporting him bankrupt since 2000 yet you can never find Michael Jackson with an IRS issue–NONE. Think about all the other celebrities who went bankrupt and one common denominator is IRS debts they all had. Everyone has been reporting he will be selling his ATV share since 2000 but he died already and when billionaires and media moguls lined up to offer billions to purchase his 50% stake, his own Estate DECLINED them all.

  • Michael Jackson’s only weakness is not spending or shopping, its TREATING everyone better than they deserve. This is why he became a target for leeches and scums.”

Frankly, I don’t know what IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is, but since Michael Jackson was never found with this issue, the absence of the problem looks to me like a good sign which doesn’t need extra discussion.

What I want to focus on instead is that many articles about Michael’s “poor finances” are dated the period of his 2005 trial. When you read the newspaper stories of that time you can’t help feeling that while the prosecutors knew they couldn’t prove their child abuse case they very well realized that they were damaging Michael financially and that the side effect of the trial (whatever its outcome) would be Michael’s complete financial ruin.

Well, given how ridiculous the Arvizo allegations were I now even begin thinking that the case was organized with the sole aim of making Michael Jackson bankrupt – first and foremost through ruining his reputation and good name, and forcing him to pay enormous legal bills, making him unable to sell any of his records any more, averting the public from his music, having his songs removed from radio and TV stations and making his name no longer attractive to advertisers.

When you read the fictional stories of that period they all sound very much alike – it is always Michael who is “desperate for money” – and wanting it either from Ed Bradley, though money was never discussed between them, or from Fox News to whom Michael wanted to sell the rebuttal video for $3mln., which you will read about in the article below.

The way the prosecutors salivate at the prospect of disastrous financial consequences of the trial for Michael Jackson make me wonder in full seriousness – could Michael’s desirable bankruptcy be the actual reason why they arranged the whole Arvizo thing at all?

Michael Jackson may be near bankruptcy

By Steve Chawkins and E. Scott Reckard Times Staff Writers

March 12, 2005, 7:15 a.m.


Prosecutors said Friday that Michael Jackson was nearly broke and so desperate for cash in 2003 that he allegedly held a teenager and his family hostage until they could be taped in a video tribute to him.

The video was sold to the Fox network for $3 million, according to Santa Barbara County prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss. For reasons that have yet to be publicly explained, the footage of the boy and his family making glowing statements about Jackson was not used.

In a nonjury hearing at the singer’s child-molestation trial, Auchincloss claimed that Jackson was on “the precipice of bankruptcy,” with a debt of $300 million and an additional $150 million in tax liabilities.

He said Jackson’s finances would “all come crashing down” in December. Auchincloss alluded to a Bank of America loan but was cut off by Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville, who said the discussion was irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Jackson attorney Robert M. Sanger agreed, adding that an estimate of Jackson’s worth today may not reflect his worth two years ago. In any event, he disputed the prosecution’s estimates and offered none himself.

Lawyers on both sides were wrangling over the attempt by prosecutors to subpoena information about Jackson’s finances from banks and accounting firms.

Melville, who said he didn’t want the trial bogged down by arcane financial testimony, set another hearing on the issue for Thursday.

If prosecutors can prove that Jackson was struggling financially in 2003, they want jurors to believe that he was plunged into panic by a damaging British TV documentary.

In “Living With Michael Jackson,” a show produced by journalist Martin Bashir, Jackson admitted that he enjoyed sharing his bed with young boys [bullshit], although he insisted that nothing sexual occurred.

One of those boys, shown holding hands with Jackson in the documentary, is at the center of the current case. The boy and his family claim that Jackson and his employees isolated them at the singer’s Neverland ranch to secure their help in the rebuttal video that was sold to Fox.

In addition to child molestation, Jackson, 46, is charged with conspiring to hold the family against its will. If convicted, he could face 20 years in prison.

Jackson’s finances have prompted speculation for years.

In court Friday, Auchincloss called the singer a “spendaholic” who chalks up annual expenses of $35 million but brings in an annual income of $11 million. He pointed to a pending lawsuit in which the owner of a Los Angeles antique store claims that Jackson still owes him $450,000 for candelabras and other items.

About $270 million in loans from Bank of America Corp., backed by Jackson’s two major song catalogs, will come due over the next few years, The Times reported last year. A Bank of America spokeswoman declined comment Friday.

Jackson found some breathing room in early 2004, when he refinanced his debts to the bank with an assist from lower interest rates.

The debts to Bank of America are secured by Jackson’s publishing firm, Mijac, which sources told The Times last year is worth at least $75 million, and his 50% stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a company whose holdings include the Beatles’ publishing rights, which would fetch several times more.

In addition to rights to his personal hits, Mijac has rights to the Sly and the Family Stone catalog, Curtis Mayfield‘s “People Get Ready” and other songs. The Times reported last year that the firm returns profit to Jackson of $6 million or more a year.

Sony/ATV, for its part, generates profit for Jackson in the same range. Jackson paid $47.5 million in 1985 to acquire the Beatles’ song catalogs, one of the richest in music.

Ten years later, he merged those rights with Sony‘s publishing unit, creating Sony/ATV and earning him $100 million.,1,3519629.story

Let me sum up a couple of things here:

  • when they speak of the catalog of Michael’s songs (Mjjac) and his 50% stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing as security for the debts to Bank of America they are basically right, only now we’ve learned that those were not just ordinary debts but loans to obtain a new music catalog
  • when Auchincloss called the singer a “spendaholic” he, firstly, heavily deviated from the point of their “child abuse case” or putting it plainly, spoke of something which was none of his business
  • and secondly, he never mentioned that the lavish spending included giving away to charity all the proceeds from his Dangerous and Victory tours which amounted to no less that $350mln. as well as the need to pay the enormous amount of legal bills which were actually forced on Michael by people like Auchincloss.

Speaking of the 2005 period just before the end of the trial the media was unashamed to show their shrill at the anticipation of Michael Jackson’s full, complete and total financial ruin:

Michael Jackson to lose Beatles catalog?
The cash-strapped pop star on trial for child molestation finds some of his assets threatened.
May 5, 2005: 3:53 PM EDT
By Krysten Crawford, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Michael Jackson, the legendary pop star facing child molestation charges, could lose his stake in the lucrative Beatles music catalog as well as the rights to his own platinum-selling songs.

Two loans estimated at $270 million that are tied to the Beatles catalog and other assets have been sold by Bank of America, the nation’s No. 2 bank, to a private hedge fund, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Technically Jackson has defaulted on loan payments, one of the sources said.

Typically, when a debtor defaults or is about to default on a loan, terms are renegotiated. Another option is for the lender to sell the loan — and the collateral that comes with it — to another party. Bank of America chose to sell the loans to the hedge fund, New York-based Fortress Investment Group.

Depending on negotiations with Fortress, the risk that Jackson could lose the copyrights to the Beatles songs as well as his own hit recordings is real.

An accountant testifying at Jackson’s child molestation trial this week told jurors that the rock star is in financial straits. Forensic accountant John Duross O’Bryan said Jackson is spending about $20 million to $30 million a year more than he earns.

Jackson, Duross O’Bryan testified, has liabilities of about $415 million. The result is “an ongoing cash crisis,” Duross O’Bryan testified.

To fund his lavish lifestyle, Jackson has borrowed against his assets. Duross O’Bryan said that one of the loans that Bank of America sold to Fortress, valued at $200 million, is due in December 2005. Bank of America declined comment.

Peter Briger, a principal at Fortress, did not return a call seeking comment. The company, according to its Web site, manages $15 billion in assets, a third of which is invested in distressed debts.

Losing the Beatles rights could put into play one of the world’s most valuable song portfolios.

Jackson, 46, acquired the Beatles song catalog in 1985 for $47.5 million, outbidding ex-Beatles singer/bassist Paul McCartney. [In fact Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono did not even display an interest in that acquision] Jackson then sold a piece of his stake to Sony a decade later, creating a joint venture called Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The venture is now believed to be worth more than $400 million.

Song catalogs have become hugely lucrative in the last two decades due to the compact disc boom, rising sales of Internet downloads, and movie studios and advertisers willing to pay royalties to use hit songs in film scores and commercials.

Jackson, through Sony/ATV, owns all but a small selection of the Fab Four’s compositions, including megahits like “Yesterday,” “Let It Be,” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” He does not, however, own the actual sound recordings; those rights are held by EMI’s Capitol Records.

Royalty arrangements can be quite complicated. Basically, Jackson and Sony receive a fee each time one of the Beatles songs is played on the radio or a Beatles album is sold. Industry royalty rates for single-song plays can run under 10 cents, while rights holders typically earn a small percentage on each album sold.

It’s hardly chump change: the small amounts add up to millions of dollars in revenues a year.

Another major revenue stream for Jackson is Mijac Music, the copyright holder on all of his hits and other artists’ songs. Mijac is thought to be worth roughly $75 million, according to reports.

Despite Jackson’s shaky finances, the long-term value of his $475 million worth of song libraries drew Fortress Investment’s interest, speculated James Dunn, a vice president at InvestorForce, a Wayne, Penn.-based investment adviser to institutional investors.

“That’s clearly the trade they’re making” in placing a bet on Jackson’s debts.

Hedge funds are largely unregulated investment vehicles that are designed for wealthy investors looking for big returns on riskier bets. According to InvestorForce, there are more than 4,000 such funds with more than $800 billion in assets.

A small fraction of hedge funds invest in what are known as distressed securities, such as debts like Jackson’s.

Jackson was indicted last year on charges he molested a boy, then 13, providing him with alcohol, and then conspiring to hold him and his family hostage after a damaging TV documentary about Jackson and the boy aired.

Roger Friedman played the same tune in May 2005 and said that Michael Jackson had no one else but himself to blame for his debts. He even said that Michael deserved what he got…… In addition to it, though we’ve just read in a different source that in February 2004 Al Malnik was acting on behalf of Michael Jackson, Roger Friedman tells us in full earnest that Al Malnik fell off with Michael Jackson in 2003 and “the two have not talked since then”. Funny…

Jacko Shocked: Bank Sells Out Beatles Loan

Thursday, May 05, 2005
By Roger Friedman

Michael Jackson was reportedly shocked Wednesday when he received word that Bank of America had sold him out.

I can tell you exclusively that Bank of America has sold Jackson’s $270 million in loans to a private hedge fund. The group is called Fortress Investments, located in Manhattan.

Their principals are Peter L. Briger Jr., formerly with Goldman Sachs, plus Wesley R. Edens, Robert I. Kauffman, Randal A. Nardone and Michael E. Novogratz — all with substantial backgrounds in finance. The firm’s specialty, according to its Web site, is rescuing “undervalued, orphaned and distressed investments throughout the United States, Western Europe and Japan.”

With this sale, Fortress now stands to become a 50 percent owner in Sony/ATV Music Publishing if Jackson should default on the loan.

Technically, he is already in default. Furthermore, Jackson’s deal with Sony comes to an end this December [2005], at which time the company can buy him out for $200 million if he can’t come up with a new buyer or enough money to pay back the loan.The Fortress deal is also rumored to include a $70 million loan Jackson has against his own publishing catalog, called MiJac.

Jackson was severely taken aback to discover yesterday morning that Bank of America had sold his $270 million debt to a group of private investors.

But why was he surprised at all? In the last few weeks, Jackson has done nothing but spit in the faces of the people who have kept him solvent for the last 20 years.

First there was his private banker at Bank of America, Jane Heller. Heller came with Jackson’s loan from NationsBank when it was merged into Bank of America. But the fact is, Heller has kept Jackson in carnival makeup and llama food for the two last decades.

Then there’s Al Malnik and Koppelman. They’re not the Red Cross; they’re savvy businessmen. But they worked hard for Jackson over the last three years to help get his house in order and off the auction block. Jackson was frequent guest at Malnik’s Miami manse, bringing with him kids, nannies, etc.

In 2003, Malnik told Jackson that he should downsize his life, take stock and stop inviting children into his bed [he never invited anyone there, Roger!], before the current scandal broke in the fall of 2003. Jackson froze him out and the two have not talked since then.

Jackson also long ago stopped speaking to Koppelman and to his longtime attorney John Branca — two more advisers who kept him afloat. Instead, Jackson turned to a succession of con artists and hustlers who promised him the moon but simply mooned him.

… One thing is for sure: The hedge fund’s major principle, Peter L. Briger, doesn’t know the former King of Pop and probably doesn’t want to.

Briger will function very well as a stranger to Jackson, dispassionate and businesslike as the clock counts down to December 20: the day when Jackson will have to either put up or shut for good.

One thing’s for sure: He will get exactly what he deserves.

Full article here:,2933,155529,00.html

He will get exactly what he deserves? Interesting idea – he laughs best who laughs last…

The next series of articles about Michael’s finances appeared immediately after Michael’s death. Some sources were reporting at the time that all MJ’s millions were gone, making emphasis on his overspending habits and never mentioning the hundreds of millions which Michael gave away to charity.

In a well-informed article from the Time magazine one would expect at least a small note about it, but alas – all they seem to be doing is lecturing us on Michael’s poor business judgement. But the words that made me really angry in their account of the events were: “as Jackson gradually retreated from work…

Bastards!  First they deprived him of every chance to record and promote his music (though he continued composing and writing songs in dozens when he more or less recovered from the trial) and now they say in a nonchalant way that “he gradually retreated from work” as if everyone forgot that making him unable to work was their own doing!

No, darlings, even if you are so forgetful of your atrocities against Jackson we will make you remember that it was actually the media who was to blame for Michael’s having to retreat from work.…

What Happened to Michael Jackson’s Millions?

By Adam Smith / London Friday, June 26, 2009,8599,1907401,00.html

Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty

That the King of Pop earned royal sums for his music, there’s little doubt. Jackson pocketed more than $300 million from sales of his recordings since the early 1980s, according to The New York Times. Thriller, which was the top-selling album of all time until eclipsed by the Eagles’ Greatest Hits, 1971-1975, brought in a reported $125 million for the singer in the years after its release in 1982. Though there were early signs of an inclination to spend — he apparently missed out on landing the bones of John Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man, despite bidding about $1 million for them in 1987 — Jackson showed early investment savvy. Shelling out $47.5 million in 1985 for the rights to a catalog of music that included 251 Beatles songs was a profitable move. Those rights, as well as concerts, endorsements and music videos, would generate more than $400 million over the next two decades.

Little else about his finances was as clever. Blessed with the regular rewards from the Beatles’ music and his own, Jackson started to spend. He paid $17 million in 1988 for the 2,800-acre (roughly 1,000 hectares) ranch in California that would become Neverland. Maintaining the theme park — complete with zoo, movie theater and fairground — swallowed up about $5 million annually. As Jackson gradually retreated from work, the additional millions eaten up by plane charters, antiques, lavish gifts and legal disputes — a child-molestation case in the early 1990s cost Jackson around $20 million to settle [$15,3mln to be correct]— left a hole in his fortune. To help plug it, in 1995 the singer signed over to Sony a 50% stake in the rights to the Beatles’ catalog in exchange for almost $100 million.

Things would get worse. With sponsors turned off by Jackson’s private life — Pepsi and sneaker brand LA Gear, for instance, had backed him — he further lost control of his finances. Duff investments and a divorce settlement with Lisa Marie Presley helped push Jackson to increasingly use his earnings from music as collateral for loans, first from Bank of America (BoA), before Fortress Investment Group, a specialist in distressed debt, took the loans off BoA’s hands. By the mid-2000s, Jackson was believed to be $270 million in debt.

With annual income from the sale of his and his catalog’s music at around $19 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, Jackson was still stretched. When the singer defaulted on a loan in March last year, pushing Neverland into foreclosure, private-equity firm Colony Capital stepped in to bail him out. The 50 concerts planned for London later this year could have netted Jackson as much as $100 million, with a possible world tour to follow generating five times that amount. To Jackson’s debtors, if not to the singer himself, that sure would have added up.”

The New York Times (in its 2009 version), however, is more cautious in its estimation of Michael’s “downfall” and admits that there were numerous customers to buy Michael’s share from Sony/ATV Music Publishing who were nevertheless refused by John Branca of the Michael Jackson Estate.

An interesting thing we learn from their article is that customers approached the Jackson family directly and “and some members of the Jackson family have pondered the merits of selling” – which confirms my suspicions that some members of the Jackson family don’t give a damn for Michael keeping his stake in Sony/ATV partnership and are thinking of their own more immediate interests.

Another interesting thing we learn from the New York Times now is at a time when Michael Jackson could have lost his stake in the Sony/ATV partnership it was Sony who came to his help. In return, Sony took greater operational control of Sony/ATV and received an option to buy half of Mr. Jackson’s share.

An option to buy  25% of Michael’s stake leaving him with the remaining quarter of it? And I thought that those 25% had already been sold to Michael’s Sony partners!

Wikipedia confirms that it was only an option saying,

“In 2006 Sony obtained an option to buy half of Jackson’s stake in the company at any time for a fixed price of $250M.  Sony has not exercised the option.”

Well, an option is not a right and they haven’t exercised this option up till now. Interesting, isn’t it?

The article below says that theoretically Sony could seek to use its option, leaving the Jackson family with a 25 percent stake in the business. But at the moment the Michael Jackson Estate still keeps Michael’s original 50% of his stake in their partnership and according to John Branca is not planning to sell it. Good news and God save John Branca again please…

Jackson Assets Draw the Gaze of Wall Street


Published: July 19, 2009

As the world sorts through the pieces of Michael Jackson’s life one month after his death, so, too, does Wall Street.

A handful of major financial firms have made inquiries into buying the Jackson estate’s 50 percent share of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the company that controls most of the Beatles song catalog, according to people briefed on the matter. Among them are Colony Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Plainfield Asset Management and the media mogul Haim Saban, these people said.

Sony/ATV is by far the most valuable asset in Mr. Jackson’s estate, and his 50 percent stake could be worth as much a $500 million. Mr. Jackson bought the majority of the Beatles catalog in 1985 for $47.5 million, after an informal chat with Paul McCartney about the wisdom of buying song catalogs.

Since then, Sony/ATV — formed from a 1995 partnership with Sony — has bought up the rights to thousands of songs from artists, including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Beck and Taylor Swift. In recent years, it made a big push into TV production, helping to balance out its radio business.

“Sony/ATV’s really started to gain greater value in recent years,” said Barry Massarsky, a music industry consultant who has done work for Sony/ATV and its rivals. “I’m very bullish on its prospects.”

John G. Branca, the entertainment lawyer who structured Mr. Jackson’s initial purchase of the Beatles catalog and is now one of two executors of his estate, declined to comment by e-mail on Sunday, saying only that the Jackson stake in Sony/ATV “is not for sale.”

Mr. Branca and John McClain, a music executive, will make decisions about the estate, pending confirmation at an Aug. 3 court hearing in Los Angeles.

Still, that has not stopped financiers from approaching Jackson family members and Sony, people briefed on the discussions said. Some of these firms already have a connection to the Jackson family.

Colony, for instance, is a co-owner of the Neverland ranch, Mr. Jackson’s former home. The firm’s chairman and chief executive, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., has contacted representatives of the family, these people said. Plainfield, which lent money to Mijac, an entity that owns Mr. Jackson’s own songs as well as those from the likes of Sly and the Family Stone, has also contacted the family, these people said. (Mijac has an estimated worth of $50 million to $100 million and is likely to grow with the pickup in album sales since his death.)

Mr. Jackson nearly lost his stake in Sony/ATV — and his family’s fortune — in 2006. He was days away from filing for bankruptcy when Howard Stringer, the chief executive of Sony, dispatched his chief financial officer, Robert Wiesenthal, to Dubai to broker a last-minute lifeline for Mr. Jackson. Mr. Jackson was living in the emirate at the time and quickly spending cash.

“His finances were in complete shambles,” said Duross O’Bryan, a forensic accountant at the consulting firm AlixPartners who served as an expert witness at Mr. Jackson’s 2005 child molestation trial. “There were serious issues with regards to his ability to meet debt when it comes due.”

The deal, negotiated in Mr. Jackson’s suite at the Burj Al Arab hotel, saved the singer from bankruptcy. In return, Sony took greater operational control of Sony/ATV and received an option to buy half of Mr. Jackson’s share.

Despite earning hundreds of millions of dollars over his lifetime, Mr. Jackson was well known for having a mountain of debt, born of expensive indulgences like the sprawling Neverland estate, costly music and tour productions and art and antiques buying sprees. The estate still carries $400 million to $500 million in debt. Barclays holds about $300 million of debt against the Jackson estate’s stake in Sony/ATV.

It remains possible that Sony could seek to use its option, leaving the Jackson family with a 25 percent stake in the business. Some of the private equity firms have proposed teaming with Sony to buy the remaining stake from the family, these people said.

A spokeswoman for Sony said the company was not interested in selling its stake. Representatives for Colony, K.K.R. and Mr. Saban declined to comment. A representative for Plainfield could not be reached for comment.

Speculation about the Jackson stake in Sony/ATV swirled at the Allen & Company retreat for media moguls in Sun Valley this month. Several attendees said Mr. Stringer had fielded inquiries into the possibility over dinner. Mr. Saban made an informal inquiry then, these people said.

The stake is likely to continue to grow in value, and some members of the Jackson family have pondered the merits of selling.

Still others have proposed eventually cobbling together a consortium to buy out Sony’s share in the publisher.

Okay, so according to Wall Street experts “Sony/ATV’s really started to gain greater value in recent years.” But look here, if it is gaining in value and Michael Jackson still owns half of it, it means that Michael Jackson directly benefits from all the proceeds Sony/ATV receive from their various projects?

And if so, then all the boycotting that was arranged against Sony not long ago was spearheaded not only at Sony but was targeted directly at Michael Jackson and his interests? Because the less Sony/ATV sells the less Michael’s stake in their partnership will bring to him and his family?

Well, I don’t know, but the anti-Sony campaign recently arranged by Michael’s adversaries and recklessly supported by some fans vividly reminded me of what Tom Sneddon and the media did to Michael back in 2003-2005 – when their goal was not only to convict him of a terrible crime (on absolutely false charges) but ruin him financially as the numerous articles of that period prove it.

In this respect it is absolutely no coincidence that the 70-police officers raid was arranged exactly on the day when Michael’s Number ones album was scheduled to be released. Michael’s associates always said that similar coincidences had a tendency to happen each time Michael was releasing his new album.

And this time was no exception to the rule. Someone didn’t want the new “Michael” album to sell either…

But if Michael’s financial ruin was actually the biggest long-term goal of the many years of his ruthless harassment by the prosecution and media what could be the worst punishment for all these Michael Jackson’s haters now?

His financial success, of course!

57 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2011 12:36 am

    Thanks vindicatemj for applying your meticulous research to the subject of Michael’s finances.

    It is refreshing that you have confirmed that his debts, which many in the media labelled as the actions of an out of control spendthrift, are indeed the result of savvy business acquisitions Michael made. Left unfettered to focus on his career, I imagine Michael would have had no trouble clearing those debts. Not only that but how many other great humanitarian works would he have achieved? And us – well we would have had more examples of Michael’s genius (whether it me musical or film) to enjoy. Alas, not to be…


  2. lcpledwards permalink
    February 24, 2011 1:02 am

    1. The IRS is the government agency responsible for collecting taxes from individuals, corporations, and other entities here in the USA. If someone is caught cheating on their taxes, they will be prosecuted by the IRS and sentenced to many years in prison! (For example, in part 2 of my settlements article, I mentioned actor Wesley Snipes, who starred in the “Bad” video, and was recently sentenced to prison for tax evasion.) The more money you have, the more likely you are to be audited by the IRS so that they can ensure that you’re not cheating, and the fact that MJ was never in trouble with them is an indication that he always had his taxes squared away, for which he deserves great credit!

    2. It’s a shame that Ed Bradley couldn’t complete that interview in February 2003! If he had, then perhaps MJ could have set the record straight about the Bashir debacle (for example, specifically mentioning that he did not authorize it), and he could have clarified what he said about bed sharing (for example, specifying that he never forced anyone to sleep in his bed, the parents were always aware, his “bedroom” is a 2 story duplex, etc.) Not only that, if he had interviewed the Arvizos, even if it was “off the record”, then he could have testified against them in court, and they couldn’t say that Ed Bradley “forced” them to say anything!

    3. I added in a link to the post you wrote a few months ago about the difference between a declaration and a deposition! I hope you’re able to finish parts 2 and 3 soon!


  3. Irielk permalink
    February 24, 2011 2:50 am

    Hand up to you and this beautiful article.


  4. lynande51 permalink
    February 24, 2011 3:42 am

    Actually Elena the Chandler declaration was not leaked to Court TV. It was attached to the Motion that Larry Feldman filed on January 11th 1994 where he asked for more photos and other things. He attached that then to prove that they had a right to their own set of photos. It was never filed underseal so the press got their own copy of it then. The only reason the press didn’t use Jordans name at the time is because they all had policies prohibiting the use of a minors name. So that said it was Court TV (i.e. Diane Dimond) that put it out on the Court TV website. In essence it was Feldman that leaked it but he had done it ten years before. It was just DD that brought it to everyones attention again. What is interesting is that the prosecution and the proprosecution media said well how could Gavin have known what to say to make his “case” sound so similar. Well thats your answer he read it on the internet, specifically TSG website.It was leaked the day after the Bashir Backstabbing.


  5. February 24, 2011 8:58 am

    “The more money you have, the more likely you are to be audited by the IRS so that they can ensure that you’re not cheating, and the fact that MJ was never in trouble with them is an indication that he always had his taxes squared away, for which he deserves great credit!”

    David, thank you very much for your expert clarification. It is good to have a Master in Accounting in the team!

    “if he had interviewed the Arvizos, even if it was “off the record”, then he could have testified against them in court, and they couldn’t say that Ed Bradley “forced” them to say anything”

    I wonder why Ed Bradley was not subpoened to court by the Defense – they evidently simply didn’t know what valuable information he had to share!

    “I added in a link to the post you wrote a few months ago about the difference between a declaration and a deposition”

    Thanks again! I never have time to make the links myself though it helps to tie all the information together. Please do it whenever you see the opportunity for it.

    “I hope you’re able to finish parts 2 and 3 soon”

    Not so soon as the post about J.Chandler’s declaration needs precision (just as everything else) and I am accumulating information for it very slowly and there is always something more urgent which gets in they way (well, you know it how it is…)


  6. February 24, 2011 9:24 am

    “the Chandler declaration was not leaked to Court TV. It was attached to the Motion that Larry Feldman filed on January 11th 1994 where he asked for more photos and other things. He attached that then to prove that they had a right to their own set of photos. It was never filed underseal so the press got their own copy of it then.”

    Lynette, yes, I’ve heard about how that Declaration first came into being – it was indeed part of the package of documents, but how do you know that it was never filed under seal and the press got their own copy of it then?

    If they had had a copy then I’m sure they would have published it, especially since the declaration was made in the shortened name of J.Chandler. And on January 11, 1994 – when that package was submitted to the Superior Court – Jordan was turning 14 which technically didn’t make him a “minor” any more. So I doubt it very much that the press had the original text back in 1994 – otherwise they would have used it then and there.

    “The declaration was leaked the day after the Bashir Backstabbing.”

    Probably. I made my calculation on the basis of the TSG information and what Wikipedia said about the date of airing Bashir’s documentary in the US – it was February 6, 2003, as far as I remember. And TSG gave the same date for the release of Jordan’s declaration:

    “After TSG first published the below document on February 6, 2003, Jackson issued a statement noting that he “has respected the obligation of confidentiality imposed on all the parties to the prior proceedings, yet someone has chosen to violate that confidentiality” and use the boy’s statements to “further sully” the star’s character.
    He added that, “it should be remembered that, at the time, the confidentiality obligation was a mutual one, designed as much to protect the teenage boy as the singer himself”.
    Jackson concluded, “Whoever is now leaking this material is showing as much disregard for the boy as their determination to attack Michael.”

    I remember that this coincidence in the dates struck me as very strange – as if someone knew when to strike best…

    More about it:


  7. February 24, 2011 9:47 am

    “we would have had more examples of Michael’s genius (whether it me musical or film) to enjoy”.

    Karen, yes, this is the saddest part of it all. They took him away from us without ever asking for our consent to what they were doing. So they ruined not only Michael’s life – imagine how much they deprived us of!

    And as to Michael’s genius – he was also a big talent in business and investments.

    Wiki says that Ivan Thornton, a private-wealth adviser who worked with Jackson and his family, commended the business side of the musician. “His business mind was fascinating. We’d go to meetings with bankers and Wall Street people and once I explained the language to him, he totally got it. There was no formal education there, but his natural knack was off the charts.”


  8. Deborah Ffrench permalink
    February 24, 2011 1:26 pm

    An extremely detailed and fascinating post Vindicatemj.

    If not for the assaults which came at him in 1993 and throughout his life, I have no doubt Michael would have cleared his debts.

    The amount of malicious litigation he faced was scandalous – and of course, the loss of his endorsement ability never recovered in America after 1993.


  9. February 24, 2011 3:33 pm

    “An extremely detailed and fascinating post”

    Deborah and all my readers here, I really have to apologize to you for making my posts too detailed and too overburdened by newspaper articles. The problem is that with these articles you never know – today they are available and tomorrow the links are not working. So this is just a necessity – we need to see the sources the way they are not to make people think that what we are writing here is just “hearsay”.

    And I also want readers to make their own conclusions on the basis of what is openly published in the media. All the facts are there – the only thing we need to do is collect them and analyze!


  10. February 24, 2011 4:14 pm

    This video was provided by Teva and there was so much to say about it that the comments had to be split between the two posts:

    The final word I wanted to say about the FALSE and OUTRAGEOUSLY MOCKING video regards the final part of it about the Beatles catalog (it starts at around 13:20).

    A few points need to be clarified here because it has become customary to say that “Michael Jackson outbid Paul McCartney in obtaining the catalog” – while in fact Paul was not even among the competitors in the sale! (we are talking about the 1984 sale of the ATV Music Publishing which had publishing rights for the Beatles catalog).

    Wikipedia says that the competitors in the 1984 sale of ATV Music included Charles Koppelman and Marty Bandier’s New York-based The Entertainment Co., Virgin Records, New York real estate tycoon Samuel J. LeFrak, and financier Charles Knapp. The bidding went for more than a year and the ATV company was finally purchased by Michael Jackson.

    As to Paul McCartney and Yoko One their history of (non)acquisition of their own catalog is much more colorful that you think it is. Wiki says about it:

    The catalogue Nothern songs featured every song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney until The Beatles’ legal split in 1971. Northern Songs had been co-owned and administered by Brian Epstein and Dick James. Upon Epstein’s death in 1967, James, who was approaching retirement, put the company up for sale.

    Lennon and McCartney, upset that the songs they had written were not theirs legally, attempted to gain ownership of the publishing rights. Their bid to gain control, part of a long and acrimonious fight, failed. The financial clout of Grade, their adversary in the bidding war, ensured that the music written by the two Beatles passed into the control of ATV (ATV belonged to the Grade family then).

    By the mid-1980s, Grade’s ATV Music Publishing and Pye Records were both up for sale. The companies were bought relatively cheaply by Australian businessman Robert Holmes à Court, who acquired Associated Communications Corporation (the parent company) in 1982, asset-stripped them and sacked many long serving employees, before selling them on again.

    During this time, American singer Michael Jackson was recording “Say Say Say” for Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace album. Jackson stayed at the home of McCartney and his wife Linda during the recording sessions, becoming friendly with both. One evening whilst at the dining table, McCartney brought out a thick, bound notebook displaying all the songs to which he owned the publishing rights.

    Jackson grew more excited as he examined the pages. He inquired about how to buy songs and what the songs were used for. McCartney explained that music publishing was a way to make big money. Jackson replied by telling McCartney that he would buy The Beatles’ songs one day. McCartney laughed, saying “Great. Good joke.”

    Jackson was first informed that the ATV catalog was up for sale in Sept. 1984 by his attorney John Branca, who had put together Jackson’s earlier catalog acquisitions. Branca approached McCartney’s attorney to query whether the Beatle was planning to bid. The attorney stated he wasn’t; it was “too pricey”. According to Bert Reuter, who negotiated the sale of ATV Music for Holmes à Court, “We had given Paul McCartney first right of refusal but Paul didn’t want it at that time.”

    Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono had been contacted as well but also did not enter bidding.

    McCartney had previously attempted to purchase the catalog alongside Ono in 1981. He was offered the catalog for £20 million ($40 million USD) and proposed the pair would each pay £10 million. Ono refused as she thought it was too high a price. McCartney spoke about the offer at a press conference in April, 1990, explaining that Ono “actually said ‘I think we can get it for 5.’ So I said, ‘Well ok, you know, let’s see what we can do.’ And we couldn’t.”

    Not wanting buy the songs himself and potentially be seen as being “grabby” for “owning John Lennon’s bit of the songs”, McCartney let the offer fall through.

    When Jackson bought ATV Music Publishing he went on to use the Beatles’ songs in numerous commercials, feeling that it would enable a new generation of fans to enjoy the music. McCartney, who himself had used the Buddy Holly song catalogue in commercials, felt saddened.

    Privately, Jackson was reported to have expressed exasperation at McCartney’s attitude; he felt that the musician should have paid for the songs he had written. At the time, McCartney was one of the richest entertainers in the world, with a net worth of $560 million and a royalty income of $41 million. Jackson stated, “If he didn’t want to invest $47.5 million in his own songs, then he shouldn’t come crying to me now”.

    Paul McCartney said about it later: “He kept saying, “That’s just business Paul.” You know. So, “yeah it is” and waited for a reply. But we never kind of got to it. And I thought, mmm…So we kind of drifted apart. It was no big bust up. We kind of drifted apart after that. But he was a lovely man, massively talented and we miss him”.

    Ono was pleased that Jackson had acquired Northern Songs and called it a “blessing”. Speaking in November, 1990, Ono stated, “Businessmen who aren’t artists themselves wouldn’t have the consideration Michael has. He loves the songs. He’s very caring.”

    She added that if she and McCartney were to own the songs, there would certainly be arguments. Ono explained that neither she or McCartney needed that. “If Paul got the songs, people would have said, ‘Paul finally got John’. And if I got them, they’d say, ‘Oh, the dragon lady strikes again'”.



  11. February 25, 2011 12:34 am


    Yes the video is at times false, mocking and outrageous, but it was provided as a means to hear vacarro in his own words and visual.

    Michael had not filed tax returns for 2006, 2007, or 2008 as detail in documents filed by the estate on 18 February 2011 in the Los Angeles probate court. Here is an except from pg 22

    “Michael Jackson had not filed personal income tax returns or income tax returns for the entities he owned or controlled for 2006, 2007, 2008. The special Administrators have filed Michael Jackson’s individual income tax returns for 2006, 2007, 2008 as well as income tax returns for this period on behalf of more than 20 entities. …..”

    The United States Treasury Internal Revenue Service is listed as a creditor of the filed papers.


  12. lcpledwards permalink
    February 25, 2011 12:44 am

    @ Teva
    Thanks! I didn’t know that! The media didn’t blow it up and sensationalize it, the same way they did with his other problems, so I always assumed that his taxes were straight. I guess the headline “Michael Jackson owes the IRS taxes” isn’t as lurid and salacious as “Michael Jackson accused of sex abuse!”


  13. ares permalink
    February 25, 2011 1:07 am

    I think that MJ had more important issues back then than his tax payement. For example recovering from child molestation allegation, trying to find a place to live since he had abandoned his country.And i don’t think that the US economy was hurt because of MJ’s delay.Come on now


  14. figlia permalink
    February 25, 2011 1:56 am

    hi,i found this very interesting interview on mjj-777 blog.i think it worths listening to it


  15. February 25, 2011 6:53 am

    To the author of this particular blog:

    This is an amazing piece on Michael Jackson. Most fans know that the media has twisted the truth and printed outright lies, underscored by the copy and paste journalism that continues the myth regarding Jackson. However, the Ed Bradley piece only furthers that not only tabloid journalists but supposedly REPUTABLE media outlets such as the New York Times printed malicious reports about MJ without even checking their facts.

    In addition, the suggestion that the media has continued their path of lies into Michael Jackson’s financial affairs is eye opening to say the least. The concept that Michael was using his assets to acquire other assets, rather than refinancing to stave off bankruptcy is a fascinating facet to the history of Michael Jackson and the media’s relationship to him. I thank you for this post…by far the best blog entry I’ve read in a very long time.


  16. February 25, 2011 10:17 am

    A very detailed and excellent work


  17. February 25, 2011 1:51 pm

    “Michael Jackson had not filed personal income tax returns or income tax returns for the entities he owned or controlled for 2006, 2007, 2008.”

    Guys, I am far from being a specialist in finances, but I get the impression that in the later years – due to the effort of the media and prosecution (and not due to his spending, there was a need for it!) – Michael had huge assets but little cash. It is the same as having a lot of valuable real property but little money for its proper upkeep and paying taxes for it. This way you still remain a very well-off person but experience temporary money difficulties.

    When you have so many assets the problem of cash can be easily resolved by selling just a little bit of it. But when you are a public figure of Michael’s scale and when you face as much hostility from the media as he did, any such sale would have immediately backfired at him as the media would have made him look “penniless” and would have humiliated him beyond measure. The immediate financial result of that would have been all his assets going down in value – not to mention the scandal they would turn it into and blow out of every proportion.

    As to the assets losing part of their value, it is the usual story – when everyone thinks you are in dire straits and need cash urgently the most you will get from your relentless buyers is half the price…

    So I understand perfectly well why Michael did not want to sell his assets and looked for some other opportunities to raise cash. This was probably one of the reasons why his Neverland items auction was organized (please note how that voiceover mocked at Michael’s “lavish spending” and the need to sell) and this is also probably one of the reasons why he agreed to do those concerts… As far as I know he received $35 mln. in advance from AEG which was probably used for cancelling the auction, covering the expenses the auctioneers already had and settling some other immediate problems.

    You understand that all this is mere speculation on my part but this is what I think of Michael’s situation at the beginning of his cooperation with AEG. And his frame of mind at the time, the pressures he was experiencing as well as AEG’s position in that matter are top important for us to get a proper understanding of all the events that came after that…


  18. February 25, 2011 2:13 pm

    Figlia, thank you so much for this interview with Dr. Wayne Dyer! It is absolutely fantastic and should be transcribed for all of us to be able to understand his very true and genuine words about Michael. Among the many things he said was this:

    “Michael was a transcendent human being who had a heart as big as the sky”.

    Transcendent means “exremely great”, “supreme”. I hope there will be a day when everyone understands that.


  19. Deborah Ffrench permalink
    February 25, 2011 5:28 pm

    I have been tweeting this article since it came out VMJ and have emailed a few people also. People are astounded by your work on this. Well done.

    I also hope one day people will know and understand the reality of who Michael was.

    I hope that very much.


  20. okunuga permalink
    February 25, 2011 5:31 pm

    I read somewhere that most if not all the frivolous lawsuits that MJ faced in this lifetime where sometimes engineered by some of the con-artists that were parading themselves as his advisers at the time.Secondly I am shocked to read that some people in the jackson`s family were been courted by people who wanted to purchase the catalogue,i`m just glad that MJ had the forsight not to put his fortune in his family`s hand.finally it seems that John Branca is not the devil that some fans/blogs made him to be and maybe just maybe that WILL might be real after all.


  21. lcpledwards permalink
    February 25, 2011 11:04 pm

    Here is a special BBC documentary from 2002 called “Liquid Assets”, which talks about the rise and fall of MJ’s finances. It’s pretty unremarkable, and totally biased (I lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the name “Jacko”), but had some interesting info on the Henry Vaccaro warehouse collection, as well as ACTUAL FOOTAGE OF JORDAN CHANDLER (in part 5)!!

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    Part 4

    Part 5

    Part 6


  22. AnnieDomino permalink
    February 26, 2011 11:17 am

    Just on Part5 of this doccie where they discuss Michael’s marriages. JRT contradicts himself on the LMP marriage. He does not outright say it was a sham – because he knows that in his book he said the marriage was real – but he presumes to put himself in their heads and hearts by defining what they felt for each other. Wow! Wish I had that ability. This is so typical – people like JRT become sought after as media commentators partially because they say what the media wants to hear. And so he becomes guilty of spreading the Michael-misinformation. I stated before that I believe that the media and the Tom Sneddon-type scum have used a sort of domino logic to brand Michael a p—-. It goes like this :”Michael was incapable of a mature relationship with a woman, therefore he a—– Chandler. He was interested in boys therefore his marriages were shams. Because he was guilty of the Chandler thing he was guilty of the Arviso thing, etc..” There are many steps in between but you get the gist..The minute you start taking layers out the whole structure tumbles down. So if Michaels’ marriages are real what does it mean to their branding him asexual or a p—-?Maybe the philosophers or lawyers out there have a term for this kind of reasoning.
    Regarding Michael’s finances. I believe in the asset-rich/ cash poor theory. When T-Mez cross examined Sneddons “forensic accountant” he laid it out very simply. Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities. By a simple sum (without going into the details of Michael’s finances), the accountant ackowledged that Michael’s net worth was in the vicinity of several $100 million. I think in the last few years of his life – fo whatever reason – Michael had some advisors who need further investigation to establish their worth. He did however have the presence of mind to hold onto his most valuable assets – Sony/ATV and Mijac. I have also heard from several sources (including MJ in Moonwalk) that he had some real estate holdings. One of the nicest things that Schmuley said about Michael was that he had a huge capacity for delayed gratification and patience. A mark of maturity that most of the people who call Michael “childish” do not have.


  23. ares permalink
    February 26, 2011 1:15 pm

    JRT is a lowlife scum.At least you know where the likes of DD or Orth stand regarding MJ.But with that guy you can never know.He is like all those advisors in MJ’s life who wouldn’t hesitate to betray him and say all kind of stupid things and lies if profit was involved.The worst kind of people if you ask me.


  24. figlia permalink
    February 26, 2011 7:39 pm

    I was reading this post and i was thinking about what Ed Bradley said about the family being at Neverland when he was there. To this day i still can’t digest what that familly did. I can’t help myself from wondering if that young man now ,Arvizo, ever feel guilty for what he did to Michael? When he went in that court room and stared telling all those lies in Michael’s presence did he feel any kind of qualm? Has he realised what he has done by now or his 11 year-old mind,still tells him that it is alright to betray in the worse possible way the man that gave him his full support and help when he needed it the most? I read somewhere someone compare this story to that of Judah.I fully agree. If there is God then those people who did wrong to Michael should never find peace until they correct the errors that they did and restore the truth.Shame on them.


  25. hana permalink
    February 26, 2011 7:52 pm


    I doubt Gavin has any remorse. According to Louise Palanker, he still stands by his story. In fact, here’s what his brother Star said to one of Michael’s fans who contacted him through facebook:

    As you can see, these immoral low-lives have no guilt or remorse. Sneddon and Zonen pretty much has them brain-washed into believing that they did the right thing by bringing a child molester to justice. So now Star sees himself as some kind of a hero.


  26. Alison permalink
    February 27, 2011 3:28 am

    Thanks for this post Helena, it’s very interesting, and important in knowing more of the truth and reinastating Michael as a shrewd businessman throughout his life.

    “Retreated from work” ! this sort of stuff makes me so angry – Michael Jackson worked harder than most people and since 5 years old! supporting his entire family and anyone else he wanted to who needed his help. I think he had done enough!
    Loads of people retire or reduce work when they can afford to – its what most people aim for, thats why so many Brits live in Spain and other countries – its OK for them but its not OK for Michael Jackson?
    AND the man was a single parent bringing up 3 children who needed his time. So all single parents who do not work or work part time in order to raise children properly – they have all retreated from work as well?!
    Total jealousy.

    Its all very interesting the speculation and reports about finances – I believe, as always, the outside world knows as much about Michael’s private business as he wants them / us to know. people even ‘insiders’ can spread whatever opinions in tabloids as they want but most of these were not privy to the details.

    I love Michael J Jackson so much.


  27. AnnieDomino permalink
    February 27, 2011 1:49 pm

    A question. Timelines are very interesting to me and if I have it right the following was the case in 1993. Michael saw Jordy Chandler on August 4th for the last time. This was the meeting where both Jordan and Evan hugged Michael even though they were preparing to launch their extortion bid. Pellicano was also present. Michael left for the Far East on August 17th. What happened in the 13 days in between? That is a long time in a tense situation like this.


  28. Dialdancer permalink
    February 28, 2011 4:39 am

    Maybe it has been answered before, but just occurred when I read Ed. Bradley’s comment. Who released the Mexico Deposition?


  29. Susanne permalink
    February 28, 2011 10:05 am

    Guys, PLEASE HELP! The French-German TV channel “arte” intends to air again the Peretti documentary on March 2:,broadcastingNum=1244900,day=5,week=9,year=2011.html

    MJ-777 has the information how to protest:

    There was already a lot of protest when they aired it after Michael’s death, I can’t believe they do it again! We need a bombardment of mails, letters and and calls!


  30. March 14, 2011 2:38 pm

    US magazine Parade reveal their annual top entertainment rich list

    * From: The Daily Telegraph
    * March 14, 2011 1:07PM

    US lifestyle title Parade magazine published their annual What People Earn issue and – as you would expect – the top 2010 money makers included some of Hollywood’s finest actors, musicians, radio and television hosts and several comedians.

    Leading the pack at number one was television mogul Oprah Winfrey, followed by the estate of the late Michael Jackson, iconic rock band AC/DC and actor Johnny Depp.

    Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen has a great year, and so did Judge Judy celeb Judith Sheindlin and Twilight star Taylor Lautner.

    Other top earners were Beyonce Knowles and her husband Jay-Z, musician Lady Gaga and Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock.

    Healthy paychecks went to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, radio and television host Ryan Seacrest, real estate mogul and Celebrity Apprentice producer and host Donald Trump, and Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart.


  31. March 17, 2011 11:37 am

    As I truly believe that Michael Jackson’s success is the worst punishment for his haters, the news of the Cirque du Soleil adding more dates to the MJ Immortal l World Tour and expanding it to 17 more US cities is just great!

    Today is March 17, so for 5 days since they started selling more tickets the show has reached no. 3 in the bestseller list:

    Since repayment of MJ’s outstanding debts is top important for Michael all of us are naturally very much interested in the terms on which the Estate is participating in these projects. Here is short information on the financial arrangements (they look quite fair to me) – so long live the show!

    “Los Angeles (April 20, 2010) – Two great forces in entertainment have combined with the announcement of an unprecedented arrangement between The Estate of Michael Jackson, represented by Executors John Branca and John McLain, and Cirque du Soleil for the creation, development, production and promotion of Michael Jackson projects, featuring touring and permanent shows, based on the music and songs of Michael Jackson. Special lifestyle projects, including a nightclub to open with the Las Vegas production, will also be developed.

    The first of these projects will be an arena-touring show in which fans will experience the excitement of a Michael Jackson concert, expected to debut in late Fall 2011. That arena show is anticipated to enjoy an extended run in Las Vegas in conjunction with longtime Cirque du Soleil partner MGM MIRAGE. The Las Vegas permanent show, also in partnership with MGM MIRAGE, is expected to open in late 2012. MGM MIRAGE will announce the location and plans for the permanent theatrical venue at a later date.

    The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil will each own 50 percent of each Michael Jackson project, sharing equally in the cost of creating, developing, building and producing the projects and in the profits from each project. The Estate of Michael Jackson will also receive royalty payments on various aspects of its intellectual property used in the Michael Jackson projects”.

    So there will be more projects to come…


  32. March 18, 2011 11:32 pm

    It’s from summer but it certainly has a place here:

    Michael Jackson: The billion-dollar man

    Jun 25, 2010

    Soaring music sales, a blockbuster movie and an array of commercial spin-offs: Michael Jackson’s demise has lent weight to the wry showbusiness maxim that death is the ultimate career move.

    In the final years of his life, Jackson’s finances were widely reported to be in chaos, with the singer facing foreclosure on his famed Neverland Ranch and struggling with debts of roughly $US500 million.

    However in the 12 months since Jackson’s death on June 25 last year, the King of Pop’s empire has witnessed a money-spinning resurgence, generating revenues estimated at more than $US1 billion.

    Jackson’s estate has paid off more than half of the singer’s debts and is likely to put his affairs back into the black in the coming year.

    The financial bonanza began almost immediately, with Jackson selling nearly 4 million records in the six weeks after his death.

    By June 2010, total album sales had swollen to 9 million in the United States alone, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.

    Internationally, Jackson has sold 24 million albums.

    Factor in digital downloads – estimated at 26.5 million worldwide – as well as downloads of ringtones and the Jackson estate has raked in around $US429 million from music sales alone.

    The astonishing success of Jackson’s music is reflected in the fact that the singer now accounts for nine of the 17 bestselling R&B hits in digital history, including Thriller, Billie Jean and Beat It.

    Jackson’s death has also been no impediment to his recording career.

    In March, the administrators of his estate – John Branca and John McClain – inked a deal with Sony Music Entertainment believed to be one of the biggest in history.

    The deal is expected to guarantee the Jackson estate as much as $US250 million.

    It will see the release of 10 albums over seven years until 2017.

    The albums will range from a collection of previously unreleased tracks to re-releases, in particular of 1979’s Off The Wall.

    The deal also allows Sony and the estate to work together on licensing arrangements for films, television and stage shows using Jackson’s music.

    Mr Branca says administrators are using Elvis Presley’s posthumous empire as a template for how to manage Jackson’s legacy.

    “To this day there’s interest in Elvis. And I think there will be enduring interest in Michael,” Mr Branca said when the Sony deal was signed.

    “It’s our job to continue to expose Michael to new generations.”

    The blanket worldwide coverage given to Jackson’s death has undoubtedly played a part in helping the singer find new audiences.

    The This Is It movie, made from rehearsal footage of the singer’s comeback concerts, became a hit last year, earning more than $US260 million worldwide at the box office and an additional $US68 million in DVD sales and rentals.

    A further $US15 million is expected from the sale of television rights to the film, while licensing for screenings outside theatres – airplanes, hotels, cruise ships – could net around roughly $US24 million.

    Mr Branca and Mr McClain have also given their blessing to a groundbreaking Guitar Hero-style video game from manufacturers Ubisoft, where gamers get points for emulating Jackson’s signature moonwalk and other dance steps.

    Meanwhile, the world famous Cirque du Soleil is planning a series of shows next year inspired by Jackson’s music and dance work.

    The tour of specially themed shows will kick off late in 2011, with an extended run in Las Vegas.

    By late 2012 the Montreal-based contemporary circus troupe aims to have established a permanent performance there.

    Jackson’s estate owns 50 per cent of each project and will receive royalty payments for the intellectual property used in the shows.

    – AFP


  33. March 19, 2011 10:28 am

    “However in the 12 months since Jackson’s death on June 25 last year, the King of Pop’s empire has witnessed a money-spinning resurgence, generating revenues estimated at more than $US1 billion”.

    Thetis, in my humble opinion, John Branca and John McClain would have done the same great job for Michael if they had had more time to act on his behalf while he was alive. Michael retained John Branca shortly before his death and together they would have worked the same wonders the Estate is making now if Michael hadn’t died.

    The fact that Michael was changing his team of advisors just before his death is very important (probably even for investigating his death). His previous advisors made a terrible mess of his finances and were sloppy in defending his interests to say the very least.

    I am now looking into his business affairs with AEG and see that the contract they forced him to sign is a complete nightmare.


  34. March 19, 2011 10:38 am

    Guys, I’ve come across a blog with focuses on Michael Jackson legal and business affairs. It seems that the blogger not only knows what he is writing about, but also has access to the various legal documents. No wonder he is not disclosing his name.

    I highly recommend it for getting truthful information about Michael’s legal affairs and will surely add it to our blogroll:

    There is a wealth of information I’ve learned from “Leslie” – both small and big. Here are some examples:


    May 24, 2010:
    “MJ surely left behind some unreleased songs. These songs are owned by his Estate now. According to the Estate’s agreement with Sony, songs created until 2003 will be released by Sony. The future of other unreleased materials is unclear. Songs from the Jackson 5 era will be released under Universal.”


    June 28, 2010
    Michael Jackson Estate’s First Year
    Michael Jackson’s Estate celebrated the first anniversary of MJ’s death with series of press releases, interviews and leaks about what happened within the estate in the last year. Below you may find an overview of these information, what in my opinion proves how great work they did.

    Debts paid off:
    – $70 million in total.
    – All Encino property and nearly condo bills and $5 million loan.
    – Video and Audio Center paid off.
    – Thomas Mesereau’s office paid off.
    – $35 million advance from AEG Live paid back.
    – $1.3 million to Los Angeles to cover MJ’s funeral.

    Business changes:
    – Sony/ATV deal soon to be renewed, MJ’s yearly income will be doubeled from ~$10 million to ~$20 million. $270 million loan payment refinanced with better terms for the Estate.
    – MiJac deal renewed along with a new public-performance agreement. $70 million loan will be paid back until Summer, 2011.

    – Over $250 million in total.
    – Sony album deal $125 million in advance, over $200 million in 7 years.
    – This Is It movie $252 million in ticket sales.
    – This Is It DVD/Blu-Ray sales $70 million.
    – This Is It TV licensing $20 million.
    – Merchandising and licensing deals $26 million in total.
    – MiJac with $35 million yearly income.
    – Sony/ATV with $11 million yearly income.

    June 5, 2010
    Properties – Updates
    1958 – 1971: MJ spent his childhood in this small family house built in 1949. The property has been sold to Unique Wood Designs Inc. on April 6, 2010 by the Jackson Trust (Katherine and Joe Jackson’s trust). UWD is owned by Katherine, Taj Jackson and Trent Jackson. The estimated value of the property is $22.000. There are no mortgage liens or unpaid taxes. No public information on who lives in the house, or what developments are in plans.
    Address: 2300 Jackson Street, Gary, Lake, Indiana
    Year built: 1949
    Living area: 672 sqft
    Number of stories: 1
    Bedrooms: 2
    Bathrooms: 1

    1971 – 1988: MJ’s parents bought the family compound for $140.000 in 1971. MJ lived there from 1971 until the middle 80’s. In the meantime he resided in rented houses. The property is now owned by MJ’s Estate and LaToya Jackson. Last time the ownership changed was back in April 26, 2005 when MJ’s status was changed from “a married man” to an “unmarried man”. The property is valued for $2.8 million. The property still has a $2.2 million mortgage lien. All taxes are paid. Katherine, MJ’s 3 children and relatives are living on the compound.
    Address: 4641 Hayvenhurst Avenue, Encino, Los Angeles, California, 91436
    Year Built: 1983
    Living Area: 10476 sqft
    Number of Stories: 2
    Bedrooms: 5
    Bathrooms Full: 7
    Pool, air conditioning, two fireplaces, attached garage for two cars

    1988 – 2005: MJ bought his dream home back in 1988 for reportedly $18 million. And finally left it after his 2005 trial to Bahrain. The property is owned by Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC, said to be a joint venture between MJ’s Estate and Tom Barrack (since November 10, 2008). The land is used for agricultural purposes, but no further plans are known. The property is valued at $28 million with a $23 million mortgage lien. The taxes are paid.
    Address: 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Olivos, California, 93441

    1993 – 2009: MJ bought a barely known property in Encino back in 1993. Later he allowed Deborah Rowe to stay in this condo until 1999, when they officially divorced. The property is now owned by MJ’s Estate and LaToya Jackson.
    Address: –
    Year Built: 1973
    Living Area: 1890 sqft
    Number of Stories: 2
    Bedrooms: 3
    Bathrooms: 3
    Pool, air conditioning, garage.

    2005 – 2009: In the last 4 years of his life, MJ rented mansions amongst others in Bahrain, France, Ireland, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. According to the publicly available information, he did not buy any new properties.

    MJ furthermore owned a Century City hideout that we have no information about.

    Katherine sold her Las Vegas condo for $14.000 on June 19, 2008. MJ gifted her with this in the 90’s.


  35. March 19, 2011 11:32 am

    Friends, I must excuse myself for not contributing to the blog much at the moment.
    The thing is that now I’ve involved myself in Michael’s contract with AEG and looking into that is a really mammoth task. For some inexplicable reason it has become a top urgency with me.
    While the situation with Jordan Chandler and Gavin Arvizo (all the more so) is practically clear to us, Michael\AEG relationship evokes a lot of questions. I’m only just starting on the road by trying to analyze their contract first, but this is to be followed by Katherine’s suit against them, their answer to her and other things.
    I don’t know what will come of it (probably nothing) – but I’ve realized that I simply cannot handle anything else without first examining all these problems. Please allow me some time to just try.

    David is going to start a series of interesting posts today or tomorrow and Thetis will follow by speaking about the 1993 case and other issues – so you are in for a lot of interesting reading soon!

    Hugs to you all,


  36. March 30, 2011 11:59 am

    Very informative and factual article, thank you vindicatemj.
    As I understand, Sony’s option to buy half of Michael’s stake would be excercised if Michael ever defaulted on his loan payments, a situation that didn’t occur. This initially triggered some fears in the fanbase that the estate would not rise to the occasion and the stake would end up with Sony under suspicious circumstances.
    After all it was Michael who said it himself: “They will kill me for my catalogs”.
    I guess only time can tell about people’s ethics and loyalty. Michael Jackson is steadily being turned into a commodity that benefits a lot of them. A criminal case is yet to be resolved and truth about his death remains to be uncovered nearly two years later.
    It all comes down to how these people who make money out of his legacy value their lives and how they want to be remembered.


  37. March 30, 2011 1:53 pm

    “As I understand, Sony’s option to buy half of Michael’s stake would be excercised if Michael ever defaulted on his loan payments, a situation that didn’t occur.”

    Maria, sorry, I didn’t realize what post you were talking about. The way I see it much more danger for Michael was coming not from Sony who actually didn’t even exercise their option to take half of Michael’s share (or 25%). The Estate is still in possession of his 50% stake and I was very much suprised to learn about it as I thought it had passed over to Sony long ago.

    I see that the main danger for Michael was coming from his agreement with AEG. The agreement says that for a mere $6,2mln. dollars loaned to Michael by them he had to put up as collateral the assets of his Michael Jackson Company (including his stake in the catalog).

    This was sealed by a signature allegedly put by him on behalf of Michael Jackson Company, LLC.

    If Michael defaulted on his loan payment the collateral would go into AEG’s possession (Sony by the way could have done it long ago – at least get their 25%). The default could happen, for example, if AEG threatened to walk out of the agreement and demanded the money back.

    Actually the first part of it was done – they did warn him they would “pull out the plug” (if I remember the expression correctly) if he didn’t attend every rehearsal.

    “After all it was Michael who said it himself: “They will kill me for my catalogs”.”

    Yes, he did. But are you sure he was talking about Sony and not about someone else?


  38. lcpledwards permalink
    April 1, 2011 1:41 pm

    The media, as well as haters, love to pigeonhole MJ as being a “reckless, out of control spender” who couldn’t properly manage his money, and that he was just an “out of control spend-a-holic who selfishly spent money on himself”.

    A friend of mine left the following comment on an article that rebuts that nonsense, and proves that MJ was indeed a shrewd businessman!

    There’s a big difference between consumer debt and acquisition debt. Acquisition debt involves multi-million dollar purchases of ventures where a significant percentage of the purchase price is financed through leverage borrowing. The assets of the acquired company are used as collateral for the borrowed capital.

    When Northern Songs–a music catalog holding thousand of songs, including the Beatles’ back catalog–was put up for sale, Jackson took immediate interest in the catalog. He was warned that he would face strong competition. “I don’t care. I want those songs,” Jackson said to his entertainment attorney John G Branca. “Get me those songs, Branca.”

    Jackson eventually beat the rest of the competition, including Paul McCartney, in negotiations for the Northern Songs catalog, which lasted 10 months. He eventually purchased the catalog for $47.5 million.

    Jackson used equity in his own catalog, MIJAC, along with the acquired assets from Northern Songs for loan qualification, with the newly acquired assets structured for equity to flow towards servicing the debt.

    In 1995, Jackson merged his Northern Songs catalog with Sony’s publishing division creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing. This deal gave Jackson half ownership in Northern Songs as well as half ownership in Sony/ATV. It also included distribution rights to thousands more songs. With the merger, Sony/ATV became the third largest music publishing venture in the world. Both Jackson and the Sony people were equal partners and vowed to become the world’s largest catalog.

    Late in 2001, Jackson and Sony acquired Tony Martin’s Baby Mae Music catalog of 600 songs.

    In July 2002, they bought country music publisher Acuff-Rose for $157 million. The venture included publishing rights to 55,000 songs.

    And in November 2007, Jackson and Sony bought Famous Music LLC from Viacom. This deal gave the King of Pop rights to songs by Eminem, Shakira and Beck, among others. The venture included the assumption of a $30 million debt. They purchased the business for $370 million.

    Bottom line. If Jackson was debt ridden, it makes more sense to believe his indebtedness of “$500 million” resulted from acquiring multi-million dollar ventures, and not, as media myth makers would have it, “lavish spending.”

    BTW, the so called “Beatles catalog” is only fractionally composed of songs by the Beatles. Wiki for Sony/ATV catalog for the full story.

    Also, haters love to say how MJ was “on the brink of bankruptcy”, as if that were an uncommon thing! There are lots of successful entrepreneurs who have filed bankruptcy multiple times! The best example is someone who is arguable the most famous entrepreneur in American history, and someone who many people feel epitomizes the quintessential businessman, and that person is Donald Trump!

    Trump’s companies have filed for bankruptcy multiple times, but his financial successes far outweigh those failures. If that were not the case, he would not be the business icon that he is, and he would not have had his own television show for the last 7 years! (The Apprentice!)

    But of course, if MJ had ever filed bankruptcy, then everyone would use it as proof positive of his business incompetence!


  39. ares permalink
    April 1, 2011 3:38 pm

    The comment made by your friend was spot on.The “bankruptcy”,”sell the catalog” campain had started long ago. I believe that one of the major reasons for this was Mike’s catalog. Appartently it wasn’t easy for some people to digest that MJ, a black man, owned the rights of the songs of some of the most legendary musicians. They couldn’t accept that and they did everything to take it from him. I think that MJ knew that and that’s why he did everything in his power to keep the catalog. Here is something interesting too.Paul McCartney was the one that introduced Mike to that business.McCartney himself owned the right of the songs of many black musician. No one has ever said anything about Paul.I wonder why? Why is that?

    Here is another interesting thing that doesn’t have anything to do with Mike’s business or financial but proves again the double standards of media and people when it comes to Mike. I was reading yesterday an article about Roman Polanski’s arrest in 2009 because in the 70’s he had rapped and sodomized a 13 years old girl. Polanski had admitted his act but when it was time to serve some extra time in prison he left the US. When he was arrested in September of 2009 the majority of the media were supporting his release, people were writing articles where they basically implied that the girl was asking for it and here is the best part ,100 directors and people working in the industry signed a petition for Polanski’s release. 100 people were asking the release of a person who Had admitted that that he had rapped a child. I was so amazed when i was reading this story yesterday that at some point i started laughing with bitterness. MJ was crucified for something that he didn’t do, he didn’t get the support from almost anyone even when he was not guilty, the media were salivating for his imprisonment and when he was found not guilty 14 times, no one bothered to correct the damaged that it was done. In fact until now people refer to the accusation with the “we will never know” sentence.

    But they didn’t hesitate to support a man who had rapped a 13 years old girl. 100 film makers, actors etc signed a petition for the release of a man who had brutally rapped a child. The same media were writing articles for the release of a man who had brutally sodomized a child. What is this called? Double standtards or something else?

    Sorry for going so out off topic but i really wanted to say this. I can’t stand the hypocricy and the injustice.


  40. Suzy permalink
    April 1, 2011 4:24 pm

    @ Ares

    I totally agree about the hypocrisy and double standards. Not only Polanski. There are journalists, “academists”, even politicians out there who are openly supportive about p-lia. This guy, who is a member of the European Parliament was in my country yesterday:

    He is considered a top politician in the EU. I’m not saying noone says anything about it, that wouldn’t be true, but with the admissions you can read at the above link, he can be in politics and he can be elected and he can live his life as if it’s nothing. Also Victor Gutierrez and others can go and talk supportively about p-lia in interviews and noone gives a damn.

    Yet they had to ruin and destroy and demonize an innocent man!

    Sometimes I can’t believe the world we are living in!


  41. Teva permalink
    April 2, 2011 1:02 am


    I found that piece you talked about concerning “Famous Music LLC” very interesting. I had heard before that MJ did acquire this catalogue, but I could never verify if it was true so thank you for putting me on the right track. I found the official Sony press release with Michael Jackson in his own words.

    Press Release


    Famous is one of the largest independent music publishers in the U.S.NEW YORK, May 30, 2007 – Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) today announced that they have signed an agreement for Sony/ATV to acquire Famous Music LLC from Viacom. Sony/ATV Music Publishing is co-owned by Sony and trusts formed by Michael Jackson. ….

    “Famous Music is one of the world’s largest independent music publishers, and this acquisition, following on the heels of the Leiber Stoller acquisition, further enhances Sony/ATV’s position in the global music publishing industry,” said Rob Wiesenthal, Chief Financial Officer, Sony Corporation of America. …

    “This is a milestone event for Sony/ATV Music Publishing,” said Michael Jackson. “The diverse collection of songs in this catalogue range from timeless classics to contemporary hits, and I am pleased to add the acquisition of Famous Music to Sony/ATV.”


  42. Teva permalink
    April 2, 2011 1:20 am

    Now I find Michael’s acquisition of FM very interesting. If he didn’t want anything more to do with Sony why was he in 2007 entering multi-million dollar deals with them?


  43. lynande51 permalink
    April 2, 2011 2:42 am

    Michael had a huge problem with Tommy Mottola when he was the President of the Sony music division and at the trial it even came out in David LeGrand’s testmony that he suspected Mottola of funneling Michael’s money to an offshore account. That is when he had a problem with them. He was again on good terms with Sony once Mottola was out of there. The Media and the DA made a big deal about making Michael look like he was broke. It amazes me how somone who was supposedly broke and in dire need of doing those shows suddenly has over 500 million within weeks of his death. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all that broke someday.


  44. Teva permalink
    April 2, 2011 3:18 am

    Well broke is a reletive term, but I do believe he was in serious debt. How he got there is another discussion, but MJ had a cash flow problem that is why he was touring again even after he said another tour would kill him. I would never call Michael Jackson before his death broke because he could have sold Neverland, Hayvenhurst, his half of ATV/Sony, Mijac, the condomnium, art, memorabilia, the grammys he really had alot of options.

    The estate made alot of money quickly because the summer of 2009 was sadly Michael Jackson’s comeback without Michael Jackson. The “This is it” movie, and the subsequent merchandizing was a money bonaza: the keyrings, usb sticks, t-shirts, etc… . 8 out of the top 10 downloaded albums on Itunes belong to MJ, then you had the ringtones, the royalties from all the radio stations playing his music. From 25 June 2009 to 31 December 2009 there really was no getting away from the biggest story. Therefore, I am not surprise they made that much money. You had people like me that never owned a Michael Jackson album suddenly downloading (legally) – recession or not. It was one of those events that just don’t happen too often. His death really cause the world to stop.


  45. April 5, 2011 8:54 am

    “Now I find Michael’s acquisition of FM very interesting. If he didn’t want anything more to do with Sony why was he in 2007 entering multi-million dollar deals with them?”

    Teva, the fuss created over Michael’s relations with Sony was blown out of every proportion. He did break from Tommy Mottola but when he was fired Michael continued his cooperation with Sony – and you are right, even the above acquisition proves it.

    MJ’s share in his partnership with Sony was and still is 50% so any present attacks against Sony backfire at Michael too as they decrease the Sony\MJ mutual profit and he receives less (same as Sony).

    That is why I was enraged by the boycott arranged against Sony – to be that near-sighted is not just a mistake, it is a crime! What makes it worse is that most probably it was initially started by Michael’s haters who wanted to channel the anger of Michael’s fans in the wrong direction – to divert attention from his real foes and to damage Michael’s interests further this way.

    When Michael was fighting Tommy Mottola his main motive was the unfair way Mottola treated him as an artist. Now you see another company which treated him in a completely outrageous way –– but despite that it is only Sony which is still “the only villain”! Shall I tell you who is most probably standing behind that campaign or will you make a guess yourselves?


  46. April 5, 2011 9:06 am

    “It amazes me how somone who was supposedly broke and in dire need of doing those shows suddenly has over 500 million within weeks of his death. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all that broke someday”.

    Lynette, much depended on the management of his busines. His business is so big that it is like managing an empire as the Estate attorneys said it in their report. Michael couldn’t do it on his own – it was simply impossible. If the people who are sorting out his papers now had been given a chance to do it earlier, the present result could have been achieved during his life .

    The very least they could have done for him as agree on better terms for his loans or debts the way they have done it now. He probably wouldn’t have entered into this business with AEG at all (at least on these terms) and they wouldn’t have had to pay many million sums to AEG to “recoup” all those advances.


  47. April 5, 2011 6:59 pm

    Guys, I have already said that if the attorneys attending to Michael’s business now had been given a chance to do it earlier, the result they have achieved by now could have been reached during his life. Now I have found proof for that – an article which says that the successful projects which brought in money to the Estate were planned by them together when Michael was alive. The article also says that Michael’s new managers are a night and day change from “the old regime” (the “old regime’ was Tohme Tohme ?). Even Thomas Mesereau refused to deal with Michael’s previous management – so we can imagine what it was like:

    “According to Mr Branca, coexecutor, the new deals follow a script the two set out shortly before the singer died.
    “When I met with him before he died we went through an agenda. John (McClain) and I are really executing on that,” Mr Branca said. “We’re doing the things we think Michael would have wanted.”

    Several people have been paid for overdue bills. Others who haven’t yet been paid say they have been treated professionally by the estate; a night and day change from his old regime. ..Thomas Mesereau, who successfully defended Jackson in his 2005 child molestation trial, said the estate recently paid his law firm $341,452 for services provided after the trial, when Jackson moved to Bahrain. The firm revived its claim in September because it gave up dealing with Jackson’s previous managers.”


  48. Dialdancer permalink
    April 6, 2011 6:19 am

    I would love to know the high-share royalty percentage the Estate receives for each song/album and whether Michael continued to receive half profit as well? Anyone know?


  49. April 7, 2011 9:13 am

    Why Did The Mainstream Media, Forbes Fail To See/Report Michael Jackson As A Very Wealthy Man??

    6 April 2011

    Now I know the perception about Michael in the mainstream media is that he was a highly indebted man when it came to his finances..but why, before his so called “monetary” issues was Michael never considered as a very wealthy black person?

    It surprises me that Forbes never researched this mans worth and even if they did, they didn’t seem to make it known. Since the 80″s Michael Jackson as been out earning almost everybody in showbiz…yet we’ve never seen him at the top of any of these annual “Rich” lists.

    He owned/owns the music catalogues of huge artists like Elvis Presley and The Beatles as well as his own recordings. In 2005 it was made known in court documents that his ATV catalogue (2ND or third largest publishing company in the world) was valued between 4.5-6 billion dollar’s (the media likes to down play its value) in which he owned a 50% stake in. He also had some Real Estate and a lot of valuable artifacts – jewels, paintings ect.
    Even the 270 million dollar loan from bank of America was a smart business decision as he took it to acquire or expand his publishing empire.

    A decade after he released new material – Michael was still bagging close to 100million dollars a year from his various investments…

    My question is that despite his so called “debt”, His overall net worth was in the billions way before his death so why didn’t Forbes or other Wealth Investigating Magazines report this when it was so obvious? Why did they focus on the “debt” without reporting the real reason for the acquisition of the loan?

    Why did/do they want to make it seem as if Michael Jackson was so dumb he couldn’t translate his huge success into wealth and basically spent all he ever earned in his life time leaving no financial security for his kids when it is just the opposite ….?

    The assumption that Michael Jackson is worth more dead than alive is simply not true. He was a profitable alive as he is in the grave. Why do people make it seem like the fan base was only paying attention to him because he died when we had over 50 million people try to get tickets to The “This Is It” Tour after it had sold out?

    Dead or alive his three children were still going to inherit a multi billion dollar empire, he made sure of that I am just baffled as to why the media never sees it but rather makes it seem like his death was the best thing to happen to his finances..?

    Post By Mensah.


  50. Dialdancer permalink
    April 12, 2011 5:55 am

    Somehow I think any financial success past and present which Michael laid the foundation for will be attributed to others and any failure will assigned solely to him.

    (Who else name and performance could have brought in the below numbers?)

    From MJFC Archive:

    July 30, 1999
    On-line Music Broadcast Breaks World Record, the innovative digital music and entertainment Internet company, made history receiving over “ten million hits in one day” for it’s live broadcast of “Michael Jackson and Friends” benefit concert held on June 27 in Munich, Germany. Never before in the history of the Internet has a single broadcast received a response of this magnitude. In sharing this benefit concert with their online audience provided further awareness and support to UNESCO, The Red Cross, and Nelson Mandela’s Childrens Fund; the beneficiaries of the event.

    Source: Entertainment Wire


  51. alice permalink
    May 5, 2011 7:47 pm

    *Interesting news*

    Sony/ATV Said to Submit Takeover Offer for Warner Music

    Sony/ATV Said to Submit Takeover Offer for Warner Music
    May 03, 2011, 1:53 PM EDT
    MORE FROM BUSINESSWEEK…ner-music.html

    By Cristina Alesci and Andy Fixmer
    (Updates with today’s share price in fifth paragraph.)

    May 3 (Bloomberg) — Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, owned by Sony Corp. and Michael Jackson’s estate, submitted a bid for Warner Music Group Corp. ahead of yesterday’s deadline, two people with knowledge of the auction said.

    Sony/ATV is working with billionaire Ronald Perelman and Guggenheim Partners LLC, said the people, who weren’t authorized to talk publicly. Warner Music yesterday called a board meeting with the aim of picking a buyer in 48 hours.

    Sony/ATV’s entry increases the number of known bidders to three after billionaire investor Ron Burkle decided to walk away last week. Len Blavatnik, a former Warner Music director, and brothers Tom and Alec Gores also submitted bids ahead of the deadline, people familiar with the offers said yesterday.

    Will Tanous, a spokesman for New York-based Warner Music, and Liz Young, a spokeswoman for Sony Music in New York, had no comment. Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes in New York, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Jeffrey Kelley, a spokesman for Guggenheim in Chicago, couldn’t be reached immediately.

    Warner Music, which began seeking offers in January, fell 8 cents to $7.33 at 1:44 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock had climbed 31 percent this year before today.

    The record company, home to artists including Cee Lo Green and the Black Keys, has long-term debt of $1.94 billion, according to company filings.

    Eight of Warner Music’s 13 directors are executives of Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital LLC, two Boston-based private-equity firms that together hold 51 percent of the company’s shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Providence Equity Partners owns 8.3 percent and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar Bronfman Jr. owns about 7 percent.

    –Editors: Rob Golum, Anthony Palazzo…ner-music.html


  52. alice permalink
    May 5, 2011 7:49 pm

    Comment from user on MJJ Community forum

    Michael never sold 50% of his catalogue because of any debts, loans, or financial problems!!!

    Michael as the owner of 100% of Associated TeleVision (ATV) Publishing wasnt able to administer and develop the company on his own – as “a music mogul” without a powerul partner.

    In 1990 Michael signed (with Sony Music) the record deal valued at 1 billion dollars for 16 years and a part of the deal was merging the ATV catalog and Sony corp. creating SONY/ATV!
    In 1995 the merging was done as the official business deal and Michael and Sony became business associates and both sides had the identical 50% share.
    Of course, Sony paid Michael the adequate sum of money from the market price of ATV P. at that time – 1995!

    At that time there was no debt or loan as a reason to sell any part of the ATV catalog.

    After Michael’s acquisition of ATV Music Publishing, his record label, CBS, were negotiating the sale of their record division in an unrelated deal. Following hurriedly arranged meetings and disagreements over the selling price, a deal was sealed by Michael during a concert in Tokyo.
    Upon seeing the success of this sale, Japanese corporation Sony sought to break away from its core business of hardware manufacturing and diversify into music, films and games.
    Looking for further opportunities, the company aimed to expand its music publishing interests.
    The Japanese corporation offered Jackson $90 million for 50% of ATV Music Publishing in 1995. Michael accepted; Michael’s own songs were not included in the deal.

    (at least) Since 2000 Sony/ATV have invested over 650 mill. dollars in buying several music catalogs and Sony/ATV became the third largest music publisher in the world.
    The catalog consists of over 700 thousand songs… including The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Eminem, Bjork, Lagy Gaga, Bieber…. and many many other contemporary artists… and maybe more will have… with Warner Music.


  53. May 6, 2011 11:55 am

    “Michael never sold 50% of his catalogue because of any debts, loans, or financial problems!!!”

    Alice, the fact that Michael still kept his 50% share of the catalog – though Sony had the option to obtain its half or another 25% – is the best proof (for me) that the “post-Mottola” Sony was not interested in Michael’s death. I’m not saying that Sony is a white and fluffy kitten, but most of the problem was in a personal relationship between Michael and Mottola, and not the general leadership of it. Roger Friedman, who seems to know everything, says the Sony’s Japanese chief liked Michael and was the one who ordered Mottola’s dismissal.

    Friedman is right in one more assessment – whether we like it or not, Michael and Sony are together forever now because of their partnership in the Sony/ATV catalog. Forever.

    And this should be borne in mind each time somebody says that we should boycott Sony. Boycotting Sony is like boycotting Michael, in my opinion.

    However the Mottola situation should be looked into in full earnest one day.


  54. May 6, 2011 2:38 pm

    John Branca’s interview with Robin Leach:

    May 2, 2011 · 2:07 PM

    Michael Jackson Fan Fest details, plus late singer’s plans before death
    By Robin Leach

    The first-ever, estate-authorized Michael Jackson Fan Fest takes place here on the Strip starting Dec. 3 when the new Immortal Tour from Cirque du Soleil opens at Mandalay Bay. Vegas DeLuxe has now learned that for 4 hours before each of the 33 performances, fans will experience the legacy of The King of Pop in a very new way.

    Already planned is an up-close look at Michael Jackson memorabilia, items from Neverland Ranch that have never been seen publicly, photo opportunities in re-created sets from Jackson videos and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. There will be a main stage featuring contests and Q&A sessions with members of the creative team from Immortal and Michael’s other associates.

    “In addition, the Fan Fest will give visitors the opportunity to play and compete against others in contests centered around the recently released Ubisoft video game Michael Jackson: The Experience. An interactive, engaging and immersive design will create a larger-than-life environment for all Fan Fest goers and promises to be a one-of-a-kind event,” one of the organizers said.

    The Michael Jackson Fan Fest will be open to those who want to participate in it and to ticket holders of the touring show. Fan Fest will be set up in the Bay East and West Halls of Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

    This week, we’ll post our interviews with the partners of Team Michael Jackson involved with the new Cirque du Soleil shows headed here — the touring show and the new permanent residency show opening in 2013 as part of an MJ Zone at the resort. First up is a rare and revealing interview with the co-executor of the estate, attorney and former manager John Branca.

    Robin Leach: When you took on this enormous responsibility, I think it’s safe to say that at that moment, neither his family nor his fans understood what your role was. You’ve not only polished the reputation, you’ve protected the reputation, and you’ve built an enormous industry going forward. When you sat down those first moments after his tragic death and said I am the co-executor of the estate, what was in your mind to achieve for the man you once managed?

    John Branca: That’s a big question. First of all, when that job was handed to me, I was thankful because a lot of Michael’s fans were really supportive. They had felt that since I’d been there with him since January 1980 that John McClain and I were the right co-executors for the job. So that gave me some confidence, but we had to prove ourselves, and there were a lot of challenges. The fact that I’d worked with Michael on and off for 30 years and that I had come to know him so well in terms of his business approach gave me a big advantage.

    I kind of felt like I knew what to do right from the start. I think if somebody brand new had come in, it would have taken them a year or two just to figure everything out. But John McClain went to high school with Michael, I worked with him on and off for 30 years. It almost seemed natural.

    It didn’t seem like, “OK, we have to figure this out.” It was just once the judge handed the baton to us, we just started running. The one thing that I think made it easy was our decision to authorize and release the movie This Is It because when I saw that footage, I realized, in my opinion, that people would see Michael in a different way. They would see Michael the perfectionist, they would see the reason why he was a great artist. At the same time, you would see his humanity. Michael did not talk down to his musicians and his dancers. He was a very gentle but demanding human being.

    We felt if we put this movie out, people would see Michael in a whole different way, and fortunately that was the case. And it went on to become by far the most successful concert documentary movie of all time. As busy as he was, I’m certain he got time to see the video shot of himself from those final rehearsals. I’m sure he did review it to study it to see which parts he might want to do better. I don’t know for a fact, but I’m pretty sure he reviewed some of it, although not all of it.

    RL: Do you get any criticism, or if there was any, how did you answer it about making so much money out of his name? First of all, I’m presuming some of that moneymaking was forced on you because of his large debts that had to be straightened out.

    JB: We viewed our obligation as really to Michael, in terms of his legacy and his work, and then to his mother and his children. And what we wanted to do over time was to be able to put the Estate into a condition where eventually when it was handed over to his own three children down the line, it would be in much better shape than when we inherited it. So it’s our job to generate income. If we sat around and did nothing, it would be a disservice.

    RL: Do you eventually relinquish this work, and then it goes to the three children?

    JB: Down the road. Well down the road. Under Michael’s trust, which is confidential, there is a date at which when the children reach a certain age, the assets get distributed, and as is typical in high income, high-network families, you don’t turn it over too soon. You wait until the kids are older.

    RL: So they have to be well over 21. If Michael was witness to everything that’s going on now, with what you’ve done, what you’ve managed to achieve, do you think he would approve and it would all have his blessing?

    JB: I think so. I think that because of the many conversations I’d had with him over the years. It wasn’t so much that he spoke about his own immortality, but he spoke about his legacy. I met with Michael the week before he passed away, and we had an agenda to go over about future affairs. A couple of months before, he had said through his manager Frank DiLeo that he wanted me to start thinking things, ideas, so when I came into that meeting, I had an agenda with a lot of ideas. I left knowing which ones Michael wanted, and so what we have done is what he wanted anyway.

    The other thing is that John McClain had said to me, if we went to Michael and said let’s put out a film of your rehearsal footage, he would have said, “Are you of your mind?” Michael was a perfectionist, so purely rehearsal footage would have been a no. But if we’d said to him, ‘Michael they’re gonna pay you X amount of money, and it’s going to be the most successful concert film ever, and the album will go to No. 1, and it’s going to outsell Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber combined, what do you think then? He would have instantly said, “Where do I sign?”

    RL: This meeting that you had a week before he passed. Was it in any way a premonition, or in getting ready to fly to London for an extended stay with This Is It, was it just being protective and the normal case of keeping one’s life in order?

    JB: I had not been working with Michael since 2006. I had resigned. But in 2009, he signed up for the This Is It concert tour. I said to myself humbly, “I’m not sure that there’s anybody else that can help Michael achieve what he wants to achieve. Not artistically, because he was the master with that, but business-wise. I called the AEG people and his manager to simply let Michael know if he wanted any help and had the interest, I’m here for him.

    I got the calls back, and they said Michael wants you to implement a plan. So over the course of a couple of months, we gave it a lot of thought, and I was ready to meet him on the Wednesday — never thinking for a moment he would be dead that weekend. It was far more about helping him have a plan from the concerts. The timing was totally coincidental … it was not a premonition. Those outlines, however, became our blueprint for protecting and ensuring his legacy. It’s what he wanted to do anyway.

    RL: Would he have wanted this amazing partnership with Cirque du Soleil?

    JB: I took Michael to his first Cirque show. We went together back in the early ’80s. It was a tent show in a Santa Monica parking lot next to the pier. He loved it! We had to go backstage after because he wanted to say hello to all of the entertainers. He was a huge Cirque fan. He saw every one of the Cirque shows. He went to Montreal to see Cirque headquarters and watch all the performers at work. In his way, he is now working with Cirque, which is something he always wanted to do.

    RL: Your prediction for Cirque’s arena tour and for the second show and the Neverland re-created museum of memorabilia here — a prediction on it all?

    JB: My philosophy is you do the best you can in creating what you’re creating. And if you do a good-enough job and it’s Michael Jackson and Michael’s music with Cirque and Jamie King, well, the results speak for themselves.

    RL: Final question: You worked with him for a long period of time. What was his genius, what was it about him that had that mega appeal to connect with everybody around the world? Did he even understand it himself?

    JB: Michael’s genius was multifaceted. He started out as this incredible young singer and dancer that then got molded through the Berry Gordy Motown music factory into becoming the consummate entertainer. He then started to write his own music. Who knew he was a songwriter? Then after Off the Wall, he started to produce his own music. He produced “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” with Quincy Jones and co-produced “Bad.”

    His talent kept unfolding and growing — part of it because he was so driven to perfection and he studied the other greats. The other part was an innate likability about him. You read stories of great artists with egos, and nobody wants to be around them. That was not Michael. Michael was a great artist and a great genius, and everybody loved him.

    RL: I had the privilege of having a Chinese dinner with him one night at the Wynn hotel here. He was the most regular, likeable guy in the world.

    JB: Exactly, and then when he was ready to go onstage, he went to another level of superstar.

    John told me that Michael has 32 million friends on Facebook and that his older brother Jackie Jackson is very involved with the Estate. “Jackie has been working with us at the estate on many projects, including developing a very high-end leather jacket line inspired by Michael’s videos that will be available retail at the MJ Zone in Mandalay Bay,” he said.

    Tomorrow, we’ll post the conversation with Jackie, along with how Mandalay Bay President Chuck Bowling plans to set up his hotel for the experience. Later in the week, our interviews continue with Immortal director Jamie King and Cirque President Daniel Lamarre.

    John summed up: “We are thrilled to establish Michael’s home away from home here at Mandalay Bay. Very few fans would ever get to visit Michael’s Neverland Ranch because of its remote location. But millions of Michael’s fans will now come to Mandalay Bay to hear Michael’s music and experience Michael in many other ways.

    “When we think about Fan Fest, Michael was always a fan of Beatles Fest, Elvis Week, Star Wars conventions, and he used to say, ‘Someday I want to have my own fan convention.’ Michael’s fans have told us they also want the same thing, so we are thrilled to accomplish another one of Michael’s objectives. We look forward to working with our partners to make happen all the things Michael himself wanted.”


  55. Chris permalink
    May 6, 2011 5:37 pm

    @ vindicatemj
    According to another one of Friedman’s articles Sony offered Michael $10 million for 1 christmas song. This is apparently what Mesereau said during the trial.


  56. January 3, 2012 6:47 pm

    Here is the audio of Ed Bradley’s interview. Unfortunately Bradley was caught up in the “deposition” lie as well.


  57. lynande51 permalink
    January 3, 2012 9:20 pm

    Yes that is a mistake that everyone seems to make. Jordan Chandler was not scheduled to give his deposition until after Michael gave his so none of the Chandler’s were ever cross examined until June went to court in 2005. All of the rest are just statements that were given to police and to their lawyers.
    It is important to remember that Jordan could say anything he wanted or sign anything he wanted without that threat of perjury until he was 14. Once he turned 14 then he could be found guilty of perjury. So the date on that statement is December 28th, 1993 which means that the signature at the bottom and the statement itself is worthless for cross examination because he was not 14 when it was written and he signed it. The words under penalty of perjury on that document are disingenuous at best.


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