Michael Jackson Made More Money Than Anyone, Dead or Alive, in 2016

SANTA MARIA, CA - SEPTEMBER 17:   Singer/songwriter Michael Jackson waves to fans as he arrives for court on September 17, 2004 in Santa Maria, California. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Michael Jackson Made More Money Than Anyone, Dead or Alive, in 2016

He was a very smart businessman in addition to being a legendary musician.

Published October 12, 2016

Back in 1985, Michael Jackson made a huge investment that was met with plenty of criticism.

Now, three decades later, anyone denying the late legend's instinct to purchase ATV's publishing catalog has a good reason to eat their words. As reported, there was a 30 percent annualized return on the investment, making Jackson's decision responsible for him being the highest paid celebrity in 2016.

As reported by Forbes, Jackson made more money this year than any celebrity, dead or alive. This is significantly due to Sony buying the catalog to form a 50/50 joint venture and later going on to purchase the remainder back in March.

Back in 1985, he purchased the catalog for $47.5 million (worth $140 million in 2016's dollar value) and the decision to do so further proves that Jackson was just as much of a smart businessman as he was a legendary performer.

The Sony deal, famous for its library of Beatles songs, helped hike up Jackson's earnings to a whopping $825 million, ranking as the biggest annual pretax payday in history.

"He was always doing stuff that was the best, the greatest, the biggest," Jeff Jampol says. Jampol manages the estates of other deceased celebrities, such as Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. "That was a big fight when he wanted to buy that catalog... it turned out to be one of the greatest investments ever."

Jackson's estate is overseen by John Branca and music executive John McClain, and clearly is doing just fine.

Take a look at Forbes's full list of this year's highest paid dead celebrities here.

Written by KC Orcutt

(Photo:Doug Benc/Getty Images)


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