Sony Corp has reached a deal with Michael Jackson's estate that could be worth as much as $250 million, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the situation.
The report said the deal, coming months after Jackson's death, is the most lucrative recording contract ever signed. It guarantees the estate at least $200 million, according to the newspaper's web site, and involves 10 albums over seven years.
The deal will combine a mix of previously unreleased songs and new packages of familiar ones, according to the report.
Sony has sold about 31 million of Jackson's albums worldwide since his death on June 25, the report said. It added that the advances Sony will pay are to be offset by sales of albums as well as revenue generated by licensing Jackson's music.
Sony's deal with the estate retroactively covers the soundtrack album to This Is It. It also covers a number of other releases, some of which have been planned and others that still must be determined, according to the Wall Street Journal.
One album of previously unreleased songs is likely to hit stores before the end of this year, and another collection is due out later, it said.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch)