BEATLE GLUM?

The star's debts could force him to hand over his prized possession...

Michael Jackson is on the brink of handing his remaining share in Beatles back catalogue to SONY in order to meet a multi-million dollar debt.

The troubled star bought the entire rights to Beatles songs in 1985 for around £32 million. He sold half of them to Sony in 1991 for £70 million. He then used Sony as guarantors on a £140 million loan he raised in the mid-90s. They were happy to guarantee the loan if he put the remaining 50% up as surety. The Fox News Network (foxnews.com) now reports that Sony are ready to call in the loan.

Sony will pick up the debt, and the hugely valuable catalogue. It is estimated to be worth £420 million.

“Sony will either make him a cash offer for the catalogue or just ‘call the note’,” a source told Fox. “It’s going to happen. Richard Rowe [Sony Music Publishing’s president] is on the phone with them all the time.”

Michael Jackson had counted on sales on ’Invicible’ to bail him out of his financial hole. But it has sold fewer than two million copies since it’s release last autumn.

Regardless of who owns the catalogue, the publisher still has to split the profits with the songwriters. So Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s estate will still rake in huge amounts of money once Sony takes over.