Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, sold to a US tycoon

The old rancho Neverland of Michael Jackson, in California, it was sold to American billionaire Ron Burklehis spokesman said Thursday, at a sharply lowered price of about $ 22 million.

The late King of Pop turned his massive mansion into a fairytale-themed haven, complete with toy railroad, Ferris wheel and orangutans, and wrote some of his top hits there.

But Neverland It was also the infamous place to which Jackson invited the children to visit him and sleep, and the scene of supposed sexual abuse of minors, according to accusations against him.

Following Jackson’s death, it was renamed in 2009 as Sycamore Valley Ranch.

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Burkle, a Montana businessman with investments ranging from supermarkets to the entertainment industry, bought the ranch “as a ‘land banking’ opportunity,” his spokesman told the AFP in reference to the acquisition of land for long-term investment.

The price of 22 million dollars reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed to the AFP As a rough estimate, a source familiar with the deal would mean a massive reduction in the ranch’s initial price of $ 100 million in 2015.

That juicy figure, considered “bullish” by real estate agents even at the time, dropped to $ 31 million last year, but the ranch remained unsold and was taken off the market.

Burkle was flying overhead recently to explore a neighboring property, likely to host a new branch of his Soho House network of private clubs, when he spotted the ranch, after which he contacted its owner, according to the spokesperson.

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Michael Jackson would have paid $ 19.5 million for the property in the 1980s. Thomas Barrack Jr.’s investment firm Colony Capital bought the ranch from the then heavily indebted singer for $ 22.5 million the year before his death. .

Burkle had previously served as the singer’s advisor on business matters, including settling debts incurred from his lavish lifestyle in the years leading up to his passing.

The 1,100 hectare farm, located 65 kilometers from Santa Barbara, features a main house with six bedrooms and three guest houses, a lake with a waterfall, tennis courts, several barns and animal shelter facilities.

Jackson’s ranch was raided in 2003 as part of a child abuse case against him, and police seized a large repertoire of pornography and images of naked children.

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Jackson was acquitted of the case in 2005.

Last year, the documentary by HBO “Leaving Neverland” released testimonies from two men who claim that Jackson sexually abused them as children on the ranch, including the attic, master bedroom, and pool.

Jackson’s heirs, who sued HBO for $ 100 million for the “posthumous murder of a character,” they deny all accusations, as Jackson did in life.

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