The Associated Press has obtained a copy of a five-page report on Michael Jackson's financial status in 2007, indicating that the dead pop superstar had a net worth of $236 million two years ago though relatively little of it, less than $1 million, was in cash.
While this information is certainly interesting for historical reasons, who knows how dated it is? The financial world obviously changed hugely in late 2007 after the credit bubble burst that summer with the collapse of the subprime mortgage market.
So Jackson's financial situation may have changed significantly and not for the better since this report.
In any event, here's what AP is reporting:
NEW YORK (AP) - Michael Jackson claimed to have a net worth of $236 million as of March 31, 2007, according to financial documents obtained by The Associated Press that shed light on the late pop star's murky finances and prodigious borrowing.
The documents offer the clearest account yet on the state of Jackson's financial empire, which is expected to become the focus of a legal battle between the singer's family and creditors.
Jackson had $567.6 million in assets, including his Neverland Ranch, his share of the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalog that includes the rights to songs by the Beatles, and an assortment of cars, antiques and collectibles, according to a statement of financial condition prepared by Washington-based accounting firm Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates.
The five-page report says Jackson had debts of $331 million, leaving him with a net worth of $236.6 million. Highlighting his shaky financial health, the singer known for his lavish shopping
sprees had just $668,215 in cash, according to the report, which is dated June 12, 2007.
The report says the accounting of Jackson's finances is "based on information produced by his advisers." It paints a pictures of Jackson's tangled finances and the mountain of debt he left behind.
The report values Jackson's 50 percent stake in the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalog - his most prized assets - at $390.6 million.
Another of Jackson's prized possessions, his Neverland Ranch, is valued at $33 million, according to the report. It says Jackson took out a $23 million loan against the 2,500-acre property in the rolling hills of Santa Barbara County.
He also had $20 million worth of cars, antiques, collectibles and other property.
There's been a lot of reporting about Jackson's finances in recent days, much of it about the torturous years of litigation that many people expect will be necessary to bring his estate to a conclusion.
For instance, NPR had this story over the weekend by Karen Grigsby Bates which gave a sense of the complex skein of financial dealings the lawyers and courts are going to need to unravel.
Andy Katzenstein is a prominent attorney whose expertise is in planning and estate management for what he diplomatically calls "high-net-worth clients." He says figuring out what Jackson is earning posthumously is going to be a headache.
"When you're in the music world, there are performers royalties, mechanical royalties, writers royalties. You have to deal with EMI and BMI and all the tracking services," Katzenstein says.
Then there are the myriad businesses Jackson ended up owing, and support for his three children by two different mothers.
So even though there may eventually be plenty of money from his songs and videos, it will take some time to untangle Jackson's complex financial affairs.
"In this particular case, I see this one going on for years," Katzenstein says.