Jackson leaves hefty debts, unrealized comeback

Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:17pm EDT
 
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By Nichola Groom and Yinka Adegoke

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Along with a vast musical legacy and legions of adoring fans, pop superstar Michael Jackson leaves behind a mountain of debt and an unfulfilled comeback many hoped would rake in millions and erase his financial troubles.

The King of Pop died suddenly on Thursday at the age of 50, after a career spanning 40 years that included the biggest-selling pop album of all time, "Thriller."

Despite taking in hundreds of millions of dollars as one of the most successful pop musicians of all time, Jackson racked up about $500 million of debt, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

His top assets, however, including copyrights to his own songs and a stake in the Beatles' song catalog, are worth more than $1 billion, according to a music industry source.

Jackson's career and image were tarnished by his mounting financial and legal troubles in recent years [ID:nN25299926].

Known for huge shopping sprees for toys and antiques, Jackson was accused by an accountant during his 2005 trial on child molestation charges of spending $20 million to $30 million more than he was bringing in per year.

The lavish lifestyle was made possible in part by a $200 million loan secured by his stake in the Beatles catalog. Jackson owned the music in a joint venture with Sony Corp known as Sony/ATV. Jackson refinanced those loans in 2006 in a bid to stave off insolvency.

In addition, Jackson last November had to hand over the title on his Neverland estate in California to a company made up of himself and Los Angeles-based real estate investment trust Colony Capital LLC, the firm that holds his $23 million loan on the property.   Continued...