Friday, February 18, 2011

Michael Jackson asset earns $310 million in profits

Michael Jackson's estate has generated $310 million in profits from album sales, a film, merchandising and other products since the "Thriller" singer died in 2009, according to court papers filed on Thursday.

His estate's administrators have used $159 million to pay along 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 proceedings  and additional challenging business, tax and legal issues, and the estate is not yet in a condition to be closed, the executors have made considerable 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  so far 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. Legal representative 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 painkiller propofol.

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

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

Among the projects making money for Jackson's estate are the new album "Michael," which contains before 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 assets. Jackson's recordings are released by blockbuster Records, a unit of Sony Corp.

Noteworthy costs included a $900,000 payment to Forest Lawn Memorial graveyard 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 assets he owned. They made $4 million in credit payments on his properties.


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