Jacko’s estate has earned $310m since King of Pop’s death

2011-02-18 07:44

Los Angeles – Michael Jackson’s estate has generated $310 million (R2.2 billion) in revenue from album sales, a film, merchandising and other products since the Thriller singer died in 2009, according to court papers.

His estate’s administrators have used $159 million to pay down the pop star’s debt, which when Jackson died amounted to more than $400 million, court records show.

“Although there remain unresolved creditor claims, pending litigation, and additional challenging business, tax and legal issues, the estate is not yet in a condition to be closed. The executors have made substantial progress in reducing the estate’s debt,” the documents state.

The records, which were made public as part of the estate’s probate proceedings, are the most detailed accounting yet of the finances of Jackson’s estate from his death until December 31 2010.

Beneficiaries of the estate are Jackson’s children, his mother and various charities.

Attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain were named administrators in a will the Thriller singer signed before he died in June 2009 from an overdose of drugs, most prominently the anesthetic propofol.

The singer’s physician at the time, Dr Conrad Murray, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death and has pleaded not guilty.

Jackson’s 1982 release Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time. Industry players think his estate can generate cash for years to come, just as dead stars such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Elvis Presley continue to rake in millions.

Among the projects making money for Jackson’s estate are the new album, Michael, which contains previously unreleased songs, and the concert movie This Is It, which compiled videotaped rehearsals for a series of comeback concerts in London.

Various merchandising and licensing deals have also swelled the coffers.

Jackson’s recordings are released by Epic Records, a unit of Sony.

Noteworthy costs included a $900 000 payment to Forest Lawn Memorial cemetery where Jackson’s body is interred, and $35 000 in expenses listed as “costume for memorial”.

Administrators paid $27.2 million in taxes, as well as $5.3 million for Jackson family members and properties he owned. They made $4 million in mortgage payments on his properties.

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