Sony pumps up MJJ pact

Sony Music has expanded its relationship with Michael Jackson by inking a joint-venture pact with the entertainer and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud.

The deal adds a hefty infusion of cash to the singer’s MJJ Records label, making it a well-capitalized outfit capable of competing with other major labels for talent.

MJJ Music, the existing Sony joint-venture label launched in 1994, will see that its releases will be marketed, publicized and promoted by the Work Group through the Epic Records distribution pipeline.

“This venture brings together the resources of a global music company, a global superstar and a global investor,” said Thomas Mottola, prexy and chief operating officer of Sony Music Entertainment. Mottola called the pact a “long-term strategic investment.”

As part of the new venture, MJJ Music plans to expand its music and publishing operations to extend the company’s reach on a global scale.

“Our new association allows MJJ Music to expand its horizons beyond my wildest dreams,” Jackson said in a statement.

MJJ Music prexy and COO Jerry Greenberg said the plan “is to expand the roster and to build MJJ into a major global franchise encompassing every element of entertainment.”

MJJ has scored a pair of success, including discs from Brownstone and 3T. The label also boasts Bonham, an artist once on Greenberg’s WTG Records, and has inked additional artists.

Kingdom Holding, the investment company owned by Alsaud, has significant holdings in Citicorp, Disneyland Paris, Apple, TWA, Saks Fifth Avenue, Planet Hollywood, the Fairmont, Four Seasons — Regent Hotels & Resorts and Norwegian Cruise Lines, among other investments.

Kingdom Entertainment, a joint venture between Jackson and the prince, was formed in March 1996 and has announced its interest in designing and owning theme parks with its Landmark Entertainment Group.

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