Sony is now the sole owner of the catalog, which features works by current musicians like Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga as well as older performers like The Beatles and Bob Dylan. The sale of The Beatles’ catalog alone will mark a huge profit for the estate. Jackson originally purchased the full catalog for $40 million in 1985. A decade later, he sold half of the share to Sony for around $100 million.
However, the sale will not compromise ownership of any of Jackson’s own works. His estate maintains the rights to his master recordings.
The proceeds from the sale will go entirely to Jackson’s estate, which includes his mother and three children. At the time of his death in 2009, the estate was estimated to be around $500 million in debt. Much of that has dissipated as the estate continues to make movie, merchandise, and music deals, but this new deal with Sony will bring the estate fully out of debt and yield a profit of several hundred million dollars.
As Jackson’s most valuable asset at the time of his death in 2009, Jackson estate attorney John Branca wrote that this investment “further validates Michael’s foresight and genius in investing in music publishing.”
The deal is expected to close by the end of March.