Michael Jackson hands over title to Neverland Ranch

Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:30pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer Michael Jackson has handed over the title on Neverland Ranch to a company made up of himself and the firm that holds his loan on the property.

Property records showed on Thursday that Jackson this week filed a grant deed on the ranch, and that the new owner of the 2,700-acre ranch in Santa Barbara County, California, is a company called the Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC.

A source close to the deal, who requested anonymity, said that Sycamore Valley Ranch is a joint venture between Jackson, 50, and Colony Capital LLC, the company that holds the loan of about $24 million on the property.

"Colony and Michael Jackson intend to pursue a multitude of joint business interests together," the source said.

Jackson averted a foreclosure sale on Neverland when Colony Capital in May bought the loan from Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based private equity and hedge fund group.

The singer has spent little time at Neverland since his June 2005, trial and acquittal of child molestation charges, which prosecutors had claimed occurred at the ranch. But Neverland was once famous for the private zoo and amusement park that Jackson built on the property.

Jackson, one of the biggest U.S. pop stars of the 1980s, has lived a reclusive life in recent years.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

 
<p>Michael Jackson waves to fans as he departs the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, California, May 25, 2005. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>