LOS ANGELES Late pop singer Michael Jackson's Neverland estate is being considered for sale, a spokesman for the company controlling the property said on Friday.
Owen Blicksilver, spokesman for investment firm Colony Capital LLC, said the company will make a decision soon as to whether it will place Jackson's estate near the central Californian coast on the market. He declined to reveal any further details.
Jackson, who died in June 2009 at age 50 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, had handed over the title on his Neverland ranch in 2008 to Colony Capital, which held his $23 million loan on the property.
At the time of the deal, Colony Capital said the firm had been planning to spruce up the ranch and sell it for an estimated $70 million to $80 million or more if Jackson was able to revitalize his career.
Jackson's estate, managed by John McClain and John Branca, said it is "saddened at the prospect of the sale of Neverland," and will continue to manage the singer's family home in Encino, a neighborhood of Los Angeles.
"We hope and trust that any new owners of Neverland will respect the historical importance and special nature of this wonderful property. Michael's memory lives on in the hearts of his fans worldwide," the statement said.
Neverland, named by Jackson after the land from the fairytale of Peter Pan, whose main character refused to grow up, featured a private amusement park and zoo on its grounds.
Since his death, Jackson has been featured each year on Forbes' highest-earning dead celebrities list, with his estate making an estimated $160 million from October 2012 to 2013, the magazine said.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Sandra Maler)