Sony Buys Michael Jackson Stake in Music Venture for $750 Million

Michael Jackson Sony

Sony Corp. has reached an agreement with the estate of Michael Jackson to acquire the late music star’s interest in their joint music business for $750 million.

Terms of the deal call for Sony to pay $733 million for Jackson’s 50% stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, as well as previously announced distributions, with payments totaling $750 million.

Sony Corp. chief Kaz Hirai used the announcement to reiterate Sony’s commitment to holding on to its entertainment assets, at a time when M&A speculation is running high throughout the media biz.

“The entertainment businesses have long been a core part of Sony and are a key driver of our future growth,” said Hirai in a statement. “This agreement further demonstrates Sony’s commitment to the entertainment businesses and our firm belief that these businesses will continue to contribute to our success for years to come.”

Sony/ATV Music Publishing, established in 1995 as a joint venture between Sony and Jackson, touts itself as the world’s leading music publisher. Together with EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV owns or administers more than 3 million copyrights; it also controls “New York, New York,” “All You Need Is Love,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Moon River,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “The Mission Impossible Theme,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Stand by Me” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

The companies said in a joint release Monday that the sale is the culmination of a process that began in September when Sony exercised its right to purchase the other partner’s interest — a right that has existed since the joint venture was formed by Jackson and Sony in 1995.

The parties expect to reach a definitive agreement by March 31, and the closing is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Sony said the transaction will have no material impact on its consolidated results forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31. It also said the impact on Sony’s results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, is currently being evaluated.

The estate said the transaction will not affect its continuing interests in other music assets, including all of Jackson’s master recordings as well as Mijac Music, the publishing company that owns all of the songs written by Jackson — such as “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Black or White” — as well as songs by some of his favorite songwriters and artists that were acquired during his life. The estate will also retain its 10% ownership interest in EMI Music Publishing.

“This transaction further allows us to continue our efforts of maximizing the value of Michael’s Estate for the benefit of his children,” said co-executors John Branca and John McClain. “It also further validates Michael’s foresight and genius in investing in music publishing. His ATV catalog, purchased in 1985 for a net acquisition cost of $41.5 million, was the cornerstone of the joint venture and, as evidenced by the value of this transaction, is considered one of the smartest investments in music history.”

Sony bought the EMI Music Publishing catalog in 2012 for $2.2 billion.

Sony/ATV Music represents the copyrights of the Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Kraftwerk, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Queen, the Rolling Stones, Richie Sambora, Sting, the Supremes, Wyclef Jean, Hank Williams and Stevie Wonder. Current artists include Akon, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, P!nk, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.

“When Sony first partnered with Michael Jackson 21 years ago to create Sony/ATV Music Publishing, we knew that this company had the ability to reach great heights,” said Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment Inc.  “This acquisition will enable Sony to more quickly adapt to changes in the music publishing business, while at the same time continuing to be an unparalleled leader in the industry and a treasured home for artists and writers.”

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    1. Christine says:

      Sony, are nothing more then low life snakes in the grass! Shame on them for taking away MJS song catalog for a piss poor amount of 750 million. The worth is in the billions, and futhermore I’m sure extreme presure was planned by Sony against the Jackson estate! That catalog belonged to his children, not the estate. I will never own, or buy another item from Sony ever!

      • joe says:

        Shame is on all you for believing gossip by someone who can’t do math. What business is it of yours? You fanatics are always crying about something. I’m sure Sony will survive not getting a few pennies from you.

    2. TheBigBangof20thCenturyPopCulture says:

      What Sony really wanted was the Beatles songbook which is virtually priceless. Mike would never have agreed to this cheap deal which was a fractional pittance of the catalog’s true worth.

      • joe says:

        By the way. @fthepress his name was Michael Jackson. This deal is none of your business as you spew hate on twitter all day long. FYI, angry troll. Your math is way off. So you and wacked out wendy can go fly a kite. Quite crying and get lives.

    3. Ima Right says:

      Sony like all music companies now have destroyed real music with it’s corporate cookie cutter crap!
      Jackson was smart enough to buy many classic songs that will live on forever unlike the crap made now.

      • S.forbes says:

        All i can say is that Michael Jackson estate basically just destroyed everything Michael Jackson was against.

    4. Guest says:

      Just who controls Michael Jackson’s estate? Who gets the $750 M ?

    5. Me says:

      The estate [of Michael Jackson] will also retain its ownership interest in EMI Music Publishing.

      Meaning (unless changes to own rights of the Len-Mac songs), EMI’s Beechwood Music will still be owned by Jackson, meaning (again) Jackson owns rights for MPL and Lenono in the two Len-Mac songs, “Love Me Do” and “PS I Love You” for which MPL and Lenono owns the songs ‘copyrights.

    6. Je Vizzusi says:

      My folks loved Andy Williams and Moon River would play all night every night in our modest home. I got so sick of it, if I hear it today standalone or underneath anything, I react like Trump.. get it off, get it off! Half of those classic titles that they grossly overpaid for will be songs of neverland soon.

      • Me says:

        Oh well. Maybe Viacom would agree with you being that Moon River, apart of Famous Music was started and owned by Paramount Pictures

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