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Last Updated: Friday, 14 April 2006, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Jackson strikes deal over loans
Michael Jackson
Jackson recently closed the house on his Neverland ranch
Pop star Michael Jackson has reached an agreement with music giant Sony to help ease his money worries.

Jackson had been due to pay back $200m (114m) in loans in December, which were secured on the Beatles back catalogue, jointly owned with Sony.

A statement issued in Bahrain by Jackson adviser Grahame Nelson said the singer "has restructured his finances with the assistance of Sony".

He has lived in Bahrain since being cleared of child abuse charges in June.

"Following negotiations with several leading financial institutions, Mr Jackson has concluded refinancing with affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, the lender that currently holds secured debts that were previously held by Bank of America," the statement added.

Fortress was due to gain Jackson's share in Sony/ATV if he defaulted on the loans.

Last month the house on Jackson's Neverland ranch in California was closed to cut costs, while during his child abuse trial prosecutors claimed he was a "spendaholic" with "a billionaire spending habit for only a millionaire's spending budget".

'Billion-dollar' catalogue

No further details of the refinancing agreement were available, although the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported that the deal would ultimately see Jackson sell half of his 50% share in the catalogue to Sony, leaving him with just 25% of it.

The Beatles
The Sony/ATV catalogue includes 200 Beatles songs
The Sony/ATV catalogue is thought to be worth $1 billion (571 million).

As well as 200 Beatles songs, it includes songs such as Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind and the works of Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks.

The Beatles rights passed to British showbiz mogul Lew Grade's ATV company in 1969 when it bought publisher Northern Songs.

Ownership of ATV eventually passed to Australian tycoon Robert Holmes a Court, who sold it to Jackson in 1985 for $47.5m. Ten years later, Jackson cut his stake in the catalogue to 50% when it was merged with Sony's music publishing arm.

Jackson also has a 50% stake in new songs added to the collection.

The Beatles rights are now thought to account for two-thirds of the collection's value.

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