All He Needs Is Cash

Michael Jackson‘s legal and financial advisers are reportedly pushing the onetime King of Pop to do something he said he’d never do – sell a substantial part of his 50 percent share of Sony / ATV Music Publishing and its most prized component, The Beatles’ catalog.

The Beatles songs are jointly owned by Jacko and Sony Corp. through Sony/ATV, a separate entity.

Not only are a child molestation trial, legal bills and a prodigious shopping habit putting a crimp in MJ’s cash flow, but Bank of America is reportedly on the verge of calling in more than $270 million in loans secured by the Sony/ATV holdings, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Observers note that selling at least part of Sony/ATV, if not all of it, may be Jacko’s only way out of crushing debt – especially if he’s convicted on child molestation and conspiracy charges and can’t tour.

Rumors that Jackson may have to part with the Beatles songbook have circulated since his arrest on the charges, if not earlier. But they’ve picked up steam in recent weeks.

According to Forbes, the singer recently missed a $350,000 payment required to maintain a pool of $3 million to service interest on his loans. Even if Bank of America does not call in the loans now, they are due by the end of the year.

Jackson’s stake in Sony/ATV is valued at about $450 million, according to Forbes, and sources tell the magazine MJ is determined to hang on to it by attempting to refinance the debt. The company owns some 300,000 song titles, including 251 Beatles songs. Other artists included are Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, Garth Brooks and even System Of A Down.

Sony/ATV is also believed to generate some $80 million in annual income, about half of it from the Beatles catalog.

Jackson’s representatives have floated one scenario to the Times that would reduce his interest in the company by 35 percent. Selling that stake would clear his debts and front him $10 million cash. The remaining 15 percent stake would still provide him with income of about $10 million a year.