Michael Jackson: Neverland Ranch ‘sold to billionaire for $22m’

He paid $22m (£16.2m) for Neverland,

the Wall Street Journal reported, citing public records and three people familiar with the deal.

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Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch finally sells – but for fraction of original asking price | US News

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch has sold for $22m (£16.2m) more than 10 years after his death.

Billionaire businessman and family friend of the Jacksons, Ron Burkle, bought the 2,700-acre estate after spotting it from the air while viewing a nearby property by helicopter.

The estate, near Santa Barbara in California, sold for a third of the latest asking price – which dropped from £73.6m to £49m in 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported.

As well as the 12,500-square foot main residence, the property boasts a 3,700-square foot pool house and a separate building with a 50-seat cinema and dance studio.

Jackson, who died in 2009 aged 50, installed a railway and theme park rides, as well as a zoo.

He named the ranch Neverland after the home of Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up – from the famous children’s story.

The singer vowed never to return to the estate after he was acquitted of molesting a young boy there.

Michael Jackson died of an overdose aged 50 in 2009

He handed it over to Colony Capital LLC to hold a loan on the property amid financial troubles.

The Jackson estate was recently granted permission to pursue action against HBO for airing the documentary Leaving Neverland.

The programme featured claims from Wade Robson and James Safechuck that the singer had repeatedly abused them inside the property when they were children.

A US court ruled earlier this month that Jackson’s team could pursue arbitration against the network, as they had signed a contract not to disparage him when they agreed to air his 1992 Dangerous tour.

Mr Burkle is a controlling shareholder of luxury private members club Soho House.

He was contemplating buying the neighbouring Zaca Lake as part of the franchise, but decided it was too remote and expensive for a club.

The businessman sees the investment as a “land banking opportunity”, his spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal.

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Michael Jackson estate can take private action against HBO over Leaving Neverland documentary | World News

Michael Jackson’s estate can take action against HBO over its documentary Leaving Neverland and allegations he sexually abused two boys, a court has ruled.

Unless the network appeals, the singer’s estate can now pursue private arbitration over the 2019 documentary, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday.

This means the case that HBO disparaged Jackson by airing claims he abused Wade Robson and James Safechuck will now be considered by an independent third party – outside of court – and largely away from public view.

Jackson’s Neverland ranch near Santa Barbara, California

Jackson’s estate had already sued the channel for $100m (£75m), arguing it broke a 1992 contract the star had with them.

It claims that when HBO broadcast Jackson’s Dangerous tour, the contract agreed it would not disparage him, Variety reports.

Estate attorneys Howard Weitzman and Jonathan Steinsapir said in a statement: “In the court’s own words, HBO agreed that it would not make any disparaging remarks concerning Jackson.

“It’s time for HBO to answer for its violation of its obligations to Michael Jackson.”

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The network’s lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, argued the 27-year-old clause expired once each side fulfilled its obligations.

HBO also claims that Leaving Neverland is an important piece of journalism.

James Safechuck is pictured aged 10 with Jackson
James Safechuck is pictured aged 10 with Jackson

Jackson’s family says the documentary was based on allegations made by two men who previously told authorities they weren’t molested by him.

But during the film, both men repeatedly accuse the star of grooming and molesting them at his Neverland ranch in California.

They have each tried to sue companies created by Jackson, but Mr Safechuck’s lawsuit was dismissed last month.

Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed has been filming the recent court hearings for a follow-up documentary.

Jackson died in 2009 at the age of 50.

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