Selling Out Jacko

Michael Jackson is one step closer to losing his grip on The Beatles’ songbook as Bank of America has sold his $270 million in loans to New York City-based private equity fund Fortress Investment Group, sources close to MJ told The New York Times.

The loans are secured in part by Jacko’s 50 percent stake in Sony / ATV Music, the publishing company that holds music copyrights to not only The Beatles catalog, but those of rock ‘n’ roll royalty from Bob Dylan to System Of A Down.

If MJ defaults on the loans, due in December, not only does he risk losing Sony/ATV, but also Mijac, the publishing company that controls the copyrights to his own songs.

The loans are also secured by a partial deed to MJ’s Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez, Calif.

Those close to Jacko reportedly fear that Fortress will be much faster to move on those assets than Bank of America, which until recently seemed content to work out deals with the MJ camp to keep the loans from defaulting.

However, turmoil in Jacko’s inner circle – not the least of which stems from his ongoing child molestation trial – reportedly put the bankers on their last collective nerve.

During the trial, a forensic accountant testified that the former King of Pop is suffering an “ongoing cash crisis,” spending about $20 million to $30 million a year more than he earns and that he has assets totaling about $130 million with $415 million in liabilities, according to CNN.

Jackson’s financial advisers have reportedly been urging him to sell half of ATV/Sony Music to raise some much-needed cash to stave off a default of the loans and still ensure a $10 million annual cash cow.

But MJ’s reluctance to part with The Beatles’ songbook, and the influence of new financial adviser Ron Burkle, have reportedly combined to quash that option.