Yesterday, Today, & FOREVER The King of Pop

Moonwalking to the Bank

The King of Pop returns to the stage as part of a multimillion-dollar concert deal




Getty Images  The O2

The touring deal with
concert promoter AEG Live could be worth as much as $400 million for
Mr. Jackson over three and a half years. The first phase of the tour
includes 10 concerts at London’s O2 arena beginning July 8th, but he has
the option to extend the run for additional dates at venues spread
across three continents.  One of the most popular entertainers in the world, the 50-year-old
Mr. Jackson has not been on a
concert tour in 12 years.

Depending on the strength of ticket sales for the first 10 shows,
Mr. Jackson may add more dates at the O2.  
Tickets to the London performances
are to go on sale, via an online lottery system at MichaelJacksonLive.com, next Wednesday for £50 ($70) to £75 ($105) each.

Mr. Jackson would then have the option to add more dates in Europe,
Asia and finally North America. But he is not committed to play any
shows beyond the original 10, and would in any event not reach the U.S.
before 2011
. "He has been the biggest star in the world and it’s time
for him to get back on the stage," said Randy Phillips, president and
chief executive of AEG Live.

If Mr. Jackson goes through with the full
concert-tour plan, he could be in a position to make an offer for
Sony’s share of Sony/ATV (Michael Jackson) Music Publishing in about a year and a half, according to
people close to the matter, under a buy-sell provision in the
partnership agreement.

One business associate of the singer says that he is eager to return to work and has plenty of capital.  "He’s serious, he’s focused, he’s
healthy and he’s listening."

To obtain insurance for the tour, AEG arranged for an independent
physician to conduct a five-hour physical exam of Mr. Jackson. "He
passed with flying colors," said AEG’s Mr. Phillips.

By Ethan Smith @ WSJ.com with contributions from Aaron O. Patrick

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