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Jackson's Estate Expected To Be Profit Machine

Michael Jackson's assets outweigh his debt by at least $200 million, according to people knowledgeable about his business holdings, and that somewhat elastic calculation does not include his posthumous earning power, which seems immense based on the public demand for his music and memorabilia, Harriet Ryan and Chris Lee report. Jackson's most valuable asset is his 50% share in the Sony-ATV Music Publishing catalog.

Who will control the estate and the massive fortune that licensing Jackson's name, recordings and likeness may bring is at the heart of a hearing today in Los Angeles. While his face is appearing on numerous memorial T-shirts and commemorative plates being hawked around the world -- and will be on a U.S. postage stamp, if the Rev. Al Sharpton has his way -- no one presently is empowered to crack down on unlicensed vendors or collect fees.

Jackson albums occupied nine of the top 10 positions on Billboard's Top Pop Catalog chart last week, and fans downloaded 2.6 million Jackson songs compared to 48,000 digital downloads the week before his death.



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