Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson deal stops auction of Neverland ranch contents

April 15, 2009

Michael Jackson’s recent good fortune continued yesterday when he stopped an auction house selling a vast number of his unconventional belongings.

The pop star reached a settlement with American company Julien's Auctions, who were set to sell the singer’s famous crystal-encrusted white glove along with more than 1,000 other possessions next week.

Jackson stunned critics by selling out a summer residency at the O2 last month.

Darren Julien, the auction house owner, said that a confidential settlement had been reached and none of the 1,390 lots, recovered from Jackson's eccentric former residence Neverland Ranch, would go under the hammer.

The star’s personal effects, estimated to be worth $10 million (£7 million), were already being exhibited to potential buyers in Beverly Hills, California, after several previous attempts by Jackson’s production company to halt the sale failed.

The battle was due to continue in court today, where Jackson’s team were seeking an injunction, when the settlement was reached.

Jackson has always maintained that he never authorised the sale, while Julien’s Auctions have argued he gave permission after he abandoned Neverland, and the possessions inside it, following his 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges. He later lost possession of the ranch after defaulting on a loan.

Julien said that the exhibition, which includes Neverland’s front gates, arcade games from the ranch and military-style jackets that Jackson wore on stage, would continue before Jackson was reunited with his possessions.

Jackson has been in financial difficulty since his career slumped following his 2005 trial, with his debts estimated at more than £100 million.

He has lived a reclusive life, mostly outside of his native America, until last month, when he appeared in London to announce a series of comeback concerts at the O2 venue.

The rush for tickets surprised critics and saw the singer add a string of further dates.