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Earning more in death than in life


Jackson's estate has grown immensely with the help of new revenue pouring in.


—Photo: AP

Michael Jackson in a 2005 file photo.

LOS ANGELES: The money is rolling in. The bills are being paid. And all those people who said Michael Jackson might earn more in death than in life are being proved right.

Like the estates of Elvis Presley and Yves Saint Laurent, Jackson's has grown immensely since he died on June 25, 2009. Without Jackson's lavish spending sprees, and with the help of new revenue pouring in from nostalgia over the reign of the King of Pop, estate co-executors John Branca and John McClain have dramatically turned around Jackson's finances.

A kingdom that was on the verge of collapse from more than $500 million in debt now looks to be able to support his three children and his mother and donate healthily to children's charities.

The estate has earned more than $250 million in the year since he died. Executors used some of that to pay off $70 million in debt, including the $5 million mortgage on the Jackson family compound in Encino, part of Los Angeles. The interest payments on the remaining debt are now covered by a steady flow of cash.

A rundown of deals suggests that Jackson's fortune will be even bigger than could have been realised by a planned series of comeback concerts.

If Elvis is any example, a moderate level of earnings could flow into Jackson's estate for decades.

Sony Music said more than 31 million Jackson albums have sold worldwide since he died, a stratospheric number for a music industry in decline.

With 8.3 million albums sold in North America, he was the top-selling artist in 2009, easily topping Taylor Swift's 4.6 million. It marked the most albums sold in a year since Usher topped 8 million in 2004, according to Nielsen SoundScan. — AP

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