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Executors of Michael Jackson’s Estate Sell Share of Catalog to Sony for $600 Million, Apparently Against Katherine Jackson’s Wishes

Executors of Michael Jackson’s estate reportedly recently reached an agreement to sell half of the late pop star’s publishing and recorded masters catalog but two of his children and his mother are fighting the deal. 

Michael Jackson
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 10: Michael Jackson performs on stage during is “HIStory” world tour concert at Ericsson Stadium November 10, 1996 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

On Feb. 9, Billboard reported that executors, attorney John Branca and A&R executive John McClain, had reached an agreement with Sony, selling 50 percent of Jackson’s catalog, Mijac Music for $600 million. Considered the largest valuation of a musician’s musical assets in history, this deal is expected to be worth an estimated $1.5 billion, Billboard reports. Sources say the catalog includes Jackson’s music and assets as well as songs from artists such as Sly and the Family Stone, Jackie Wilson, Curtis Mayfield, and Ray Charles, artists of which Jackson had purchased their catalogs.

Yet Jackson’s mother, Katherine, along with two of his children, oppose the deal, arguing that the executors have made this decision without their permission. 

Court documents retrieved by RadarOnline found that Jackson’s 93-year-old mother, Katherine, along with his daughter, 25-year-old Paris, and younger son, 21-year-old Blanket — Jackson has one other son, Prince, 27 — have been in court for months concerning the deal. Both parties, it seems, have redacted documents and do not share many specific details concerning the case. The outlet describes an extensive series of court filings and recriminations between the executors and the heirs.

Stuck In Probate Court 

When Jackson died in 2009, he was in debt to the tune of $500 million. Branca and McClain have been on a steady climb, bringing in more than $700 million in various deals and sales. 

Yet Katherine has often seen Branca and McClain’s financial choices as a point of contention. 

In 2022, Branca and McClain requested the probate court to approve selling a portion of Jackson’s catalog. The sale was expected to generate an estimated $400 million for Jackson’s children and his mother, Katherine. 

Branca and McClain’s motion was redacted, which has led to many details about the sale to be concealed from the public. 

Katherine Jackson then filed a motion disagreeing with the sale of Mijac Music. Like the executor’s motion, her motion did not share her decision to not agree with the proposed sale to Sony. 

Next, the executors accused Katherine of not being cooperative and agreeing to profitable deals such as the concert film “This Is It.” The film went on to be one of the highest-grossing concert films in history–raking in over $267 million in sales worldwide. Branca and McClain argued that if they had not agreed on the deal, they would have lost money that was needed. As a result, the probate court judge approved the executor’s motion and the deal. 

Katherine then filed an appeal arguing that executors “have no power to cause the Estate to enter into the Proposed Transaction.” Katherine also argued that Jackson’s will instructed the executors to place his assets in The Michael Jackson Family Trust, a move that has not happened yet. In addition, Katherine believes the sale is not necessary as the family is not in financial need. 

Paris and Blanket also objected to the Sony deal while his other son, “deferred to the probate court,” RadarOnline reported. 

While the executors were told to respond to Katherine’s appeal by Jan. 30, they did not file by the due date and the sale of Mijac Music catalog was announced on Feb. 9. 

At press time it was not clear if the executors and Katherine had come to an agreement, RadarOnline reports, as neither has shared the deal with the probate court and the appeal case is still active. 

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