Sony Completes Acquisition of Michael Jackson Estate’s Share of EMI Music Publishing

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Sony Completes Acquisition of Michael Jackson Estate’s Share of EMI Music Publishing

In announcing its financial results, the Sony Corp. revealed that it had acquired Michael Jackson’s estate share of EMI Music Publishing, paying it a total of $287.5 million.

That was apparently the first step in completing its pending acquisition of EMI Music Publishing from a consortium of investors, which still has to be vetted by governmental regulatory agencies before the deal can proceed. Sony is still in the process of filing the paper work for the proposed acquisition, according to sources, so the process of scrutinizing the deals impact on potential anti-trust issues has yet to begin, they say.

As it is, Sony has agreed to pay $2.3 billion to acquire EMI, as well as assume EMI’s debt of $1.359 billion. With Sony and Jackson’s share valued at $1.091 billion that gives EMI Music Publishing a valuation of $4.75 billion.

The Jackson estate held a 9.84% interest in EMI; or a 25.1% stake of the piece owned by Sony and the Jackson estate, which means that without putting up any money in the deal, by virtue of its stake in Sony/ATV, the Jackson estate received $287.5 million, not a bad return on a zero dollar investment.

While the Jackson estate is overseen by both music industry executive John McClain and lawyer John Branca, it is the latter, a partner in the law firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP, who likely gets credit for making the shrewd publishing deals on behalf of the estate.

Prior to this deal and before EMI Music Publishing came up for sale, the Jackson estate had sold its share of Sony/ATV in 2016 and received $750 million in cash, which means that the Jackson estate has made over $1 billion since it has unwound its interest in those publishing assets.

When Sony completes its acquisition—if it gets the regulatory approval that is—EMI Music Publishing will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corp, and will likely remained merged into Sony/ATV.

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