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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 08:52 GMT
Threat to Jackson's Beatles stake
Michael Jackson
Jackson bought the publishing rights for $48m (27m) in 1985
Michael Jackson could lose his 50% stake in The Beatles' back catalogue if he fails to meet an imminent deadline to repay $200m (113m) in loans.

The singer's lawyers are in talks to prevent him defaulting on loans secured by his stake in the songs.

Jackson's lawyer Brent Ayscough said he wanted Fortress Investment Group to give the singer more time to repay.

He bought the coveted publishing rights for $48m (27m) in 1985. They are now valued at $500m (283m).

'Spendaholic' claim

Now jointly owned by Jackson and Sony, the 4,000-song catalogue contains more than 200 Beatles tunes including such hits as Yesterday.

It also includes songs such as Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind and the works of artists such as Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks.

A default on the loans, due to be repaid on Tuesday, would enable New York private equity fund Fortress Investment Group to seize Jackson's 50% stake.

The Beatles
The catalogue includes 200 Beatles songs including Yesterday
Prosecution testimony during his trial earlier this year - at which Jackson was cleared of child abuse charges - stated that the US singer had borrowed heavily against his assets.

Assistant district attorney Gordon Auchincloss described him in court as a "spendaholic" who had debts of $300m (170m) and faced liabilities of $400m (227m) by the end of 2005.

But Mr Ayscough said on Monday: "There is no doomsday, or anything like that."

He added: "Nothing's going to happen tomorrow. At the moment people are still talking."

Jackson has been living in Bahrain since his California trial ended in June.

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