Business deals could add millions to Jackson estate

LOS ANGELES Mon Aug 3, 2009 8:15pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An attorney for the executors of Michael Jackson's estate said Monday that deals worked out in partnership with the King of Pop's concert promoter could provide millions of dollars to his estate.

Since his death in June, numerous reports have speculated that concert promoter AEG Live and the executors of Jackson's estate were working on arrangements to make videos, DVDs and other merchandise based on the "Thriller" singer's planned comeback.

Attorney Howard Weitzman, who represents Jackson's longtime lawyer John Branca and music industry executive John McClain, the two executors of Jackson's will, said after a court hearing Monday that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, who is overseeing matters related to the estate, will likely approve business agreements at an August 10 hearing.

Weitzman said the deals "will bring millions of dollars of revenue to Michael Jackson's estate."

Attorneys for AEG Live and the companies they have been talking with, Bravado and Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, attended Monday's hearing.

In an agreement with AEG Live, Jackson was to have performed 50 shows in London starting on July 13, but he suffered cardiac arrest and died on June 25 before the shows could happen.

AEG Live has said it hopes to use rehearsal footage to help offset the $30 million it spent in advance and generate enough cash for Jackson's estate to erase its debt. AEG is controlled by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz.

Jackson was said to have debts totaling $500 million when he died, but his assets, including rights to many songs by The Beatles, reportedly outweigh his debts by about $200 million.

In the court filing with his 2002 will, lawyers attached a document that said the estate could have a value of more than $500 million, and experts believe that value will grow with increased fan interest in the King of Pop.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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