He has The Beatles to thank...

Michael Jackson has reached an agreement with Sony to help ease his massive financial debts – and he has The Beatles to thank.

The fallen star had been due to pay back $200million (£114million) in loans in December. They were secured on the back of The Beatles back catalogue – jointly owned by Sony. Few details of the deal have been released, but Jackson adviser Grahame Nelson issued a short statement from Bahrain. Jackson has been living there since he was cleared of child abuse charges last 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 said.

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times have reported the deal means Jackson will sell half of his 50% share in the catalogue to Sony, leaving him with just 25% of it. The catalogue is thought to be worth $1billion (£571million).

As well as 200 Beatles songs, it includes songs such as Bob Dylan‘s ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’.

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, 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.