Sony to pay $750 million for Michael Jackson’s stake in publishing venture

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The King of Pop’s publishing empire is about to shrink.

Sony has agreed to pay Michael Jackson’s estate $750 million for its share of the joint Sony/ATV publishing venture.

Sony (SNE) and Jackson formed Sony/ATV in 1995, and the late singer’s estate retained a 50% stake in the company. Sony last year triggered a clause that allowed it to buy out Jackson’s estate.

The deal will give Sony access to copyrighted work from artists including Wyclef Jean and Taylor Swift.

During his lifetime, Jackson was among the first to recognize the value in owning the publishing rights of popular works, leading the singer to purchase rights to most of the music produced by the Beatles.

John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of Jackson’s estate, said the singer’s original purchase of the ATV catalog for $41.5 million was “one of the smartest investments in music history.”

“This transaction further allows us to continue our efforts of maximizing the value of Michael’s Estate for the benefit of his children,” Branca and McClain said in a statement. “It also further validates Michael’s foresight and genius in investing in music publishing.”

At the time of his death, Jackson was heavily in debt.

Jackon’s master recordings will remain under the estate’s control and are not included in the deal. Mijac Music, which owns all songs written by Jackson and select works by other artists, will also remain part of the star’s estate.

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