Michael Jackson could be forced to give up his share of the Beatles’ song catalog to Sony Music Publishing. Jackson famously bought the catalog for $47.5 million in 1985, and then sold half of it to Sony in 1991 for a reported $100 million.
In the last several years, stories have circulated that Jackson is having money troubles. In the mid-’90s, the “King Of Pop” asked Sony to guarantee a $200 million loan from lenders, using his 50-percent ownership in the Beatles catalog as collateral, notes foxnews.com. It has been reported that Sony Music Publishing’s president Richard Rowe is in constant contact with Jackson’s reps over the remainder of the catalog, which is valued at somewhere between $400-$600 million. “Sony will either make (Jackson) a cash offer for the catalog or just call the note,” says a source close to the situation. Sony’s fiscal year ends March 31, so it is trying to work out the deal as quickly as it can. A spokesperson for Sony’s corporate publicity revealed they had “no comment” on the deal.
Jackson was looking for sales of his latest album Invincible to pay off his debt, but the album, released in October, has not done as well as expected, selling fewer than 2 million copies to date.
In the last 20 years, Paul McCartney has twice attempted to buy back the Beatles songs, but he and John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono have been unable to come to an agreement about a partnership. As recently as last year, the two feuded over the song “Yesterday,” which McCartney penned alone but which was credited to both Lennon and McCartney, like most Beatles songs. McCartney asked Ono when the Beatles Anthology came out if the songwriting credit could be adjusted, and she refused.