Michael Jackson’s Estate May Sell the Beatles’ Publishing Rights
In 1995, Michael Jackson created Sony ATV when he merged ATV, his company that owns the publishing rights to the Beatles‘ catalog, with Sony Music. Now, according to a new report, the two parties are in preliminary discussion to have one buy out the other.
Rolling Stone says that representatives from Sony will soon meet with Jackson’s estate to discuss the situation. As part of a deal struck in 2006, Jackson gave Sony an option to buy him out, which was exercised last month. However, Sony feels that current trends away from sales and toward streaming could potentially damage the value of the company and may be looking to sell their share to Jackson’s estate. A Sony source says that they will “either become 100 percent owner or divest,” and that the upcoming meeting is “just the first step” in the process.
Jackson controversially purchased ATV for $47.5 million in 1985, a few years after Paul McCartney had suggested that he get into publishing. The merger with Sony 10 years later earned him $95 million. But as Jackson’s career stalled in the last few years of his life, he found himself in debt and brokered a loan using his half of the company as collateral. Part of that deal gave Sony the option of buying him out at a later date.