Sony Music Reportedly Acquires 50% Michael Jackson Catalog Stake At a Staggering $1.2 Billion Valuation

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The Michael Jackson estate has reportedly sold a 50 percent catalog stake to Sony Music for upwards of $600 million. Photo Credit: Constru-centro

One year ago, reports suggested that the Michael Jackson estate was looking to sell half the singer-songwriter’s catalog for upwards of $900 million. Now, according to new reports yet, Sony Music has acquired this 50 percent interest for north of $600 million.

Outlets including Variety shed light upon the possible deal between the Michael Jackson estate and Sony Music, neither of which had commented publicly on the subject at the time of this writing. Predictably, given the massive price tag and the $1.2 billion overall valuation for the body of work, the play is said to cover the “Thriller” creator’s recorded and publishing rights alike.

Primary Wave still possesses a 10 percent stake in the music IP on the publishing side, according to reports, and the transaction involving the Jackson estate and Sony Music is said to have closed sometime late last year. Thus, it’s unclear when (or whether) a formal announcement will arrive.

In any event, the sizable bet on the long-term earning potential of Jackson’s projects reportedly excludes revenue deriving from theatrical plays based on the “Billie Jean” singer-songwriter. Reportedly included, however, are the rights to a variety of works owned by the Jackson estate’s Mijac Music publishing company but not penned by the 13-time Grammy winner himself.

Bigger picture, it goes without saying that the deal is additionally significant owing to the controversy (including multiple lawsuits and HBO’s Leaving Neverland) that’s surrounded Jackson since his passing. But especially as his songs continue to rack up billions upon billions of streams – and with a major biopic on the way – this negative publicity was seemingly of little import to the purchasing party, which may well have determined that the worst of these hurdles had passed.

The partial catalog buyout also underscores that the music-IP space, despite having shown some signs of a slowdown during 2023’s opening half, remains a viable investment option for deep-pocketed parties.

And while the Queen catalog is reportedly up for grabs for over $1 billion, with Katy Perry and others having sold their music IP for considerable sums last year, the worth attached to Jackson’s catalog is presumably the single largest valuation to date. That’s assuming, of course, that the reported-but-unconfirmed figures are accurate.

Even so, the catalogs attributable to different legacy acts have hardly failed to rake in huge amounts in their own right. Bruce Springsteen scored a reported half of a billion dollars for the entirety of his catalog (recordings and publishing) in a December of 2021 deal with Sony Music.

Months later, Sting sold to Universal Music Publishing Group for a reported $300 million – or the same amount that the company reportedly paid for Bob Dylan’s catalog back in December of 2020.