Despite speculation, Mr. Branca said, “we do not contemplate selling any portion of Sony/ATV.”
Beyond 2009, Mr. Branca and others estimate the business of Michael Jackson could generate about $50 million to $100 million annually.
“We are very optimistic about the revenue we will generate,” said Howard Weitzman, a lawyer for Mr. Branca and Mr. McClain. “But we also have to be sober about the debt the estate has.”
The overall value of Mr. Jackson’s business, were it to be sold in the future like Mr. Presley’s was, would most likely be several hundred million dollars, said Mark Roesler, chairman of CMG Worldwide, a licensing firm that has worked with the estates of Mr. Presley, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.
“You have someone who left a mark on six billion people in the world,” Mr. Roesler said.
“If you put a value of $110 million on Elvis Presley’s intellectual property rights, that’s a baseline. It’s certainly in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Neverland Ranch itself could become a future moneymaker, just like Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Some family members hope that Mr. Jackson will be buried there, but that decision has not been made. Neverland is owned in partnership with Colony Capital, a Los Angeles real estate company that stepped in when Mr. Jackson was on the brink of foreclosure.
Another idea is to establish a permanent Michael Jackson attraction in Las Vegas, which would house the late singer’s memorabilia. This option may be preferable to Neverland, because Las Vegas is more easily accessible to tourists.
In life, Mr. Jackson faced a precarious financial future, as he piled on debts to finance his tastes in art, to travel on private jets and to keep up Neverland. In death, his estate may enjoy the financial security he never had.
Few celebrity deaths have garnered more media attention. Since his June passing, Jackson's estate has sold an estimated 9 million albums worldwide plus more than 5.5 million digital downloads.
Sony shelled out $60 million for the rights to produce This is It, the highly anticipated movie featuring rehearsal footage of what was to be a 50-date concert engagement at London's O2 arena.
The $60 million advance will be split between Jackson's estate and concert promoter AEG. The estate, AEG and Sony will divvy up any profits from the movie. Merchandise created for the tour has been selling briskly online.