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Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Jackson 'will not sell' Beatles songs
The Beatles
The Beatles: Not for sale
Michael Jackson has denied rumours that he was to planning sell the Beatles' song catalogue.

The pop superstar released a statement on 9 May saying: "I want to clarify a silly rumour - the Beatles catalogue is not for sale, has not been for sale and will never be for sale."

While the Beatles' sound recordings remain with EMI, the song catalogue was bought by Michael Jackson in 1985 when he outbid Sir Paul McCartney for Beatles' publisher ATV Music.

Michael Jackson
Jackson beat McCartney to ATV Music in 1985
There had been rumours that Jackson was putting the catalogue up for sale to cover the maintenance of his Neverland ranch in California as well as legal bills relating to cancelled concert tours.

The Beatles' song catalogue has had a long and winding history.

The Beatles' own publishing company, Northern Songs, was bought by ATV Music in 1969.

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Jackson bought the ATV Music catalogue, which includes the Beatles' songs, on September 6, 1985, for a reported $47m (34m) - outbidding ex-Beatle McCartney.

The Beatles had always tried to prevent their work being used in advertising, but under Jackson's ownership, Beatles songs appeared in TV commercials for the first time - though the surviving Beatles had more success in preventing the use of original recordings.

In 1995, after year-long negotiations, Jackson merged the ATV Music Publishing Company with Sony Music Publishing, creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing - and netting a reported $110m (80m) from the move.

Jackson's long-delayed new album is expected this autumn, and he will mark 30 years as a solo artist with a gala concert on 7 September at New York's Madison Square Garden.

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