- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The “King of Pop” is making mountains of cash from beyond the grave.

Michael Jackson may have died in 2009, but the entertainer’s business decisions during his lifetime netted his estate $825 million in 2016. The haul puts him in the top slot for Forbes’ annual ranking of lucrative dead celebrities.

Time has shown Jackson’s decision in 1985 to purchase the Beatles’ ATV publishing catalog for less than $50 million (not adjusted for inflation) to be incredibly prescient. Sony entered into a 50/50 contract with singer for $115 million in 1995, and then gave his estate a 30 percent annualized return on investment when it purchased the rest of the rights last March for $750 million.

“I told you I knew the music publishing business,” Jackson said to Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandierin 2007, Forbes reported.

Other deceased creators who are having a lucrative year include:

  • Charles Schulz: $48 million from “Peanuts” licensing.
  • Arnold Palmer: $40 million from beverages, retail.
  • Elvis Presley: $27 million from music sales, Graceland.
  • Prince: $5 million from album sales and live music prior to death.

“[Michael Jackson] was always doing stuff that was the best, the greatest, the biggest,” Jeff Jampol, who manages the estates of Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, told Forbes. “That was a big fight when he wanted to buy that catalog … it turned out to be one of the greatest investments ever.”

Jackson’s estate is managed by lawyer John Branca and music executive John McClain.

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