Before his premature demise, Michael Jackson set up provisions for his children and his mother, Katherine Jackson. The King of Pop’s will directs his estate to take care of her for the rest of her life.
The pop superstar died at the age of 50 in 2009.
New reports released by the executors of his estate during a recent legal battle show how those governing his massive multi-billion estate honored his wishes regarding Katherine Jackson’s care.
Inside the Estate
Radar Online reports that amid a dispute regarding a big business deal in the name of her son, the estate has released financials in court that cover the year 2019. The documents quietly show she got a nearly $1 million allowance that year.
In addition to sharing how much money the matriarch of the Jackson family received from her deceased son’s estate, the filing revealed his only daughter, Paris Jackson, was allotted $723,000 to build a home that same year.
As she has done in the past, Katherine Jackson picked up a trumpet horn to protect her son’s legacy, fighting even those close to him to make sure he is done right by.
A Mother’s Protection
Recently, Katherine Jackson, who turned 93 years old on May 4, was in court with the estate, hoping she could block a major business deal.
The singer’s mother has been public about her desire to block this deal that the estate says is “substantial advantage of the Estate and in the best interest of the beneficiaries.”
Still, Katherine Jackson has been adamant, filing a motion to stop the business deal from happening. Her filing was sealed by the court.
Many believe it is the $800 million to $900 million proposal to sell half of her son’s lucrative catalog of his own music and other creative works.
Jackson and the Business of Publishing
Variety Magazine reported in February 2023, Sony was negotiating with the estate to acquire 50 of the estate’s interests in Jackson’s publishing, recorded-music revenues, the 10-time Tony-nominated “MJ: The Musical” Broadway show, and the upcoming biopic “Michael.” In addition to these projects, the deal would include upcoming works using the superstar’s voice, image and likeness, and properties.
This deal would make history, becoming the largest deal of its kind in music publishing.
The numbers about the deal are still not firm, with reports saying music entertainment company Primary Wave Music already owns a percentage of Jackson’s publishing catalog.
The scramble for some sort of ownership of Jackson’s catalog has been like blood in shark-infested water since his death 14 years ago.
The portfolio includes his 1982 work, “Thriller” which is one of the top two biggest-selling albums ever. It was also the first album in history to ever sell 30 million units (30x platinum according to RIAA).
Sony Corp. reached an agreement in 2016 to acquire 50 percent of Jackson’s joint venture interests in Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
Billboard describes how Jackson’s deal to acquire the catalog shocked the world when Jackson made it in 1985, becoming the part owner of the 4,000-song ATV catalog, paying $47.5 million for the rights to the Lennon-McCartney/Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Cher, Elvis, Hank Williams, Little Richard, and The Rolling Stones catalogs.
The deal, done with CBS, is said to have been the “shrewdest move of his 40-plus-year career.”
In 1995, Jackson sold a 50 percent interest in the catalog to Sony for $100 million and formed Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
When he was strapped for cash, in 2006, Sony and Jackson would return to the negotiating table and hammer out the deal where they will buy another 50 percent of his share of the publishing company for approximately $250 million.
After his death, three years later, his estate worked on his behalf to leverage Jackson’s interest, allowing the family through its shares of Sony/ATV to participate in the $2.2 billion purchase of EMI Music Publishing, which included 1.3 million songs, including 251 Beatles compositions, as well as songs by The Police, Justin Bieber, One Direction and The Beach Boys.
This deal dramatically enhanced the Jackson shares, but by 2016 Sony announced it completely acquired Jackson’s 50 percent of Sony/ATV for $750 million.
Only two years after buying the shares from the estate, Sony told the world it also acquired the Jackson estate’s 25.1% stake in EMI Publishing deal for $287.5 million.
By 2018, both Sony/ATV and EMI Publishing were solely owned by Sony Music Entertainment.
John Branca, the Mastermind Behind the Estate
The only person participating in the business dealings on Jackson’s behalf from 1985 until the present date is John Branca, one-half of the estate’s executor team.
Branca and John McClain have been overseeing the estate as executors since Jackson died in 2009.
There are three beneficiaries named in the will: Michael Joseph “Prince” Jackson Jr., Paris Jackson, and Prince Michael “Blanket” Jackson II. Blanket now prefers to be called Bigi. While not listed as a beneficiary, provisions were made to make sure Katherine Jackson would never be without support.
Support for Katherine Jackson does not entitle the family matriarch to make deals for the estate, according to the court.
During the last week of April, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the estate could make the deal against the mother’s wishes.
Radar reported this week that Katherine has filed an appeal against this decision.