For Dutch pension fund ABP, Michael Jackson's death could be good for business.
The passing of the man called King of Pop last week has created a run on his music, which is partly owned by Dutch state pension fund ABP. It is the world's third-largest state pension fund after Japan's and Norway's.
There are always certain songs that for whatever reason, in this case tragic, suddenly become very popular. The last fact is a basis for the investment, an ABP spokesman said.
ABP bought two music catalogues last year, including the rights to some Michael Jackson songs like You Are Not Alone, according to the website of Imagem Music Group, which manages the music assets for ABP.
Apple Inc.'s iTunes, the biggest music retailer in the United States, reported last week that Jackson albums accounted for the top nine sellers, led by a hits package and his 1982 blockbuster Thriller.
The day after Jackson's death, online retailer Amazon.com Inc. sold more Jackson merchandise than in the prior 11 years, an Amazon spokesman said last week.
The ABP spokesman declined to say what return the fund expects on its Michael Jackson songs but ABP said last year it expected its total portfolio of music rights to return just over 8 percent annually.
ABP bought its pop music portfolio for 140 million euros last year from Universal Music Group, while it paid 126 million pounds for the classical music portfolio of private equity firm HgCapital Trust.
Each time a CD is sold, or a radio station plays a song ABP owns, the fund makes money.
ABP, which invests in music to diversify its 173 billion euro ($242.5 billion) portfolio, also holds the rights to pop artists such as Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Kaiser Chiefs, and classical composers such as Stravinsky and Rachmaninov.
ABP was interested in buying the Beatles music collection that Michael Jackson owned if the Jackson family decided to sell, the spokesman said.
We are always interested in good investment opportunities. The Beatles catalog is of course one of the most beautiful in pop history, said the ABP spokesman.