Michael Jackson death: Who did MJ leave his HUGE fortune to?

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Michael Jackson would have earned a huge amount of money throughout his career. He had groundbreaking albums, made incredible music videos and also made some savvy business acquisitions in his time. However, his death in 2009 came as quite the shock – so who did his fortune go to?

According to Billboard, Michael Jackson was reportedly in around $400million (£300million) of debt at the time of his death, and was about to start a huge comeback tour at London’s O2 Arena.

This means there was not necessarily that much to leave, though he did own some property at the time of his death.

Having said that, it was reported he left most of his estate to his mother, Katherine, and three children, Paris, Prince and Blanket, which was worth a net of $500million (£387million.)

As all three of them were under the age of consent, a plan was left for the executors of the will.

Firstly, 20 percent of his wealth was to be given to a list of children’s charities, after which the balance of the trust assets would be distributed with half going to his children, and half to his mother.

The children could then take the money held in trust for them at age 21.

Decisions on future sales were then taken by the estate, which was reportedly aided by Michael’s siblings.

There were various sales to take place, including of his ranch and some of his music rights.

He still owned Neverland, the ranch on which he lived, though he had attempted to sell it before he died.

In 2007, foreclosure of the Neverland Ranch was published, and a spokesperson for Michael said he still retained the majority stake in the ranch.

However, as time went on, it reported Michael gave up more and more of the ranch, with it eventually going up for sale.

In a press release around a foreclosure auction of the ranch, Jackson said: “I am pleased with recent developments involving Neverland Ranch and I am in discussions with Colony [Capital, an investment company] and Tom Barrack with regard to the Ranch and other matters that would allow me to focus on the future.”

By 2009, however, his debts were reportedly high and the ranch had not been sold: and still has not been sold to this day.

As a result of this, his children or those named in his will would not have been able to inherit any money from the sale of Neverland, which has currently been taken off the market, as of February 2020.

But what about his recordings, publishing rights and other income streams?

As well as owning the rights to his own publishing, Michael bought the rights to all the Lennon-McCartney sons, as well as some early George Harrison songs, for $47.5million (£36.7million) in 1985.

In 1995, Sony acquired 50 percent of the catalogue from Michael, with the company being renamed Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

As time went on, Sony continued to purchase more and more songs from Michael’s part of the company, and by 2006 Sony had operational control of the catalogues.

Michael’s own songs, however, were not held by the same company, meaning Sony were not purchasing Michael’s own songs.

The company acquired EMI Publishing, which included Mijac Music, the company which owned the rights to Michael’s songs.

In 2016, Sony acquired Michael’s stake in Sony/ATV for $750million (£579.3million), which was awarded to his estate, but this did not include his 10 percent stake in EMI Publishing.

Then, in 2018, they finished their acquisition and bought his stake in EMI for $287.5 million (£222.1million.)

Over the years after his death, it seems, Michael’s estate sold a number of his investments, which would have come in at a whopping $1.3billion (£801.4million.)

The Sony/ATV stake was reportedly kept in trust for his children.

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