Michael Jackson in talks on possible Las Vegas act

Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:45pm EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson may relaunch his career as a Las Vegas act, thanks to the private equity group that recently bought the loan on his Neverland Ranch in California to help the pop star avert foreclosure.

The investment firm Colony Capital is discussing with Jackson various repayment options for the $23 million debt, including a possible long-term engagement as the resident performer of a Vegas casino or nightclub, a source familiar with the talks said on Friday.

Colony Capital, based in Los Angeles, owns the Las Vegas Hilton and is a major shareholder in the Station Casinos chain.

The source emphasized that no deal was in place and that a gig for Jackson in Las Vegas, a city of second chances for many faded superstars, was merely one idea under consideration as Colony Capital explores loan repayment scenarios with him.

The talks with Jackson were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which quoted Colony Capital CEO Tom Barrack as saying, "we've been having discussions with Mr. Jackson about a recapitalization and refinancing of Neverland in addition to various other business opportunities and mutual interests."

A Colony Capital spokesman told Reuters the company was not commenting further on the matter. Jackson's personal spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

Bringing Jackson to Sin City as a performer would mark the biggest step the 49-year-old performer has taken toward a comeback since a child molestation trial left his career, his reputation and financial status in tatters three years ago.


<p>Michael Jackson waves to fans at a U.S. military facility in Tokyo, as he walks to board a helicopter bound for Camp Zama, a U.S. military base west of Tokyo, to join a fan appreciation event March 10, 2007. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon</p>