Michael Jackson’s worth has rocketed by around $1bn in just one year.
However, the King of Pop’s estate has been forced to sell its Beatles song catalogue for a staggering $757 million (around £567 million) to ensure Jacko’s three kids didn’t end up with money woes, according to court papers obtained by Sun Online.
Jackson’s lawyers had to sell the hottest song collection of all time to stop Prince, Paris, and Blanket from facing a life on the breadline – and face years more legal problems due to their dad’s bad business practices.
Now the Thriller singer has made a huge profit on the song collection – which he famously snatched from under Paul McCartney’s grasp in 1985 for $47.5 million (around £35.6 million)
The new court papers, filed by lawyers for Jackson’s estate, reveal for the first time that Jackson’s share of Sony/ATV Music Publishing – which includes the Lennon/ McCartney song catalogue – was sold for $756,696,117.11 (£566,950,782.26), partly to avoid a lawsuit with Sony Music, who were owed tens of millions by Jackson in loans dating back over two decades.
Lawyer Jeryll Cohen makes it clear that the sale was necessary to secure the kids’ finances, stating:
“The sale terms were highly favorable to the Estate and the sale avoided the Estate’s potential default on its loan obligation …the consideration was more than sufficient to cover the personal debt and provide the Estate with sufficient assets to ensure the long term financial security of Michael’s children.”
The sale has made Jacko, who was penniless in his last few months alive, the world’s highest-earning superstar in recent decades.
As of December 31, 2018, the new filing reveals, the estate generated gross earnings of $1.7billion (around £1.2 billion) – although much of it has gone to pay off debt, accrued by the star before his 2009 death.
The court papers filed by MJ’s estate lawyers, also reveal how lawyers have managed to ensure the three children will now stay multi-millionaires for life.
It is a staggering turn around for Prince, Paris, and Blanket whose father’s $500m (around £374.5 million) debt left their financial futures in jeopardy.
The money breakdown, outlined in the court documents, shows how Prince’s elite university fees and Blanket’s private schooling costs over $100k (approximately £74,920) annually in 2016 – the most recent year for which records have been released.
Even though the estate has three homes, Prince paid $5600 (£4,195) monthly for rent to be near the Loyola Marymount University in LA and gets an unlimited petrol budget for his cars and beloved motorbikes.
All the kids received a cash hand out of over $32.5k (£24,347) over the year without explanation, according to the figures.
They also enjoyed a luxury holiday with friends and family, where $30,996 (£23,220) was shelled on a hotel in Hawaii.
The gated community mansion, considered their family house, in Calabasas, Los Angeles, has an annual mortgage of $203k (£152,079).
The figures also show hundreds of dollars were spent on parties and celebrations – with goods from top LA bakeries Hansen’s Cakes and Cordie Cakes, $1,242 (£930) on balloons and more cash on “party services” and DJs.
The estate spent almost $50,000 on catering services in just one year, according to the figures.
Their cousin Tito Jackson Jr, who is their guardian, received almost $250k (around £187,230) for caring for them.
Their grandma Katherine too was well looked after with a staggering $1.7m (£1.2m) paid in medical expenses along with legal costs for the year. The estate also loaned her over $6m (around £4.5m) for undisclosed reasons.
And the Ribero Law Firm, who oversees the kids’ lives via the estate, took home over $2m (around £1.5m) for that work.
While Jackson’s kids are enjoying a millionaire lifestyle, the accounts show that protecting their dad’s reputation and businesses came at a cost.
Lawyers working for the singer, who was acquitted of all criminal charges of child sex abuse in 2005, racked up fees of at least $6m (around £4.5m).
During 2016, Jackson’s estate who was fighting against court clams against Wade and James also spent nearly half a million ($450,929.61 or £337,710.20) on PR companies.
Their legal and PR plan worked at the time as Los Angeles judges refused to allow the abuse cases through – based on the statute of limitations for an abuse case only being five years.
However, in 2020, the Jackson estate may have to spend even more money defending itself after the California governor altered the rulings meaning that victims can proceed with lawsuits, forty years after the alleged molestation.
Robson and Safechuck’s lawyers are planning to resurrect those lawsuits, alleging that the superstar abused the pair as young boys.
That case will be fought by the Jackson estate, who claims the pair are “fantasists”.
Cohen admits: “Although the Executors have made substantial progress in resolving creditors’ claims and litigation, there remain challenging business, tax and legal issues such that the Estate is not yet in a condition to be closed.”