LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s famous Neverland Ranch in California has finally sold, more than 10 years after the death of the pop star who abandoned the property after his trial for assaulting a young boy there.
Billionaire investor Ron Burkle, a former family friend of Jackson’s, recently bought the sprawling 2,700-acre estate, his spokesperson said Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal said the estate, which was renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch several years ago, sold for $ 22 million according to public records. In 2015 the asking price was $ 100 million and in 2017 it was re-listed for $ 67 million.
Burkle’s spokesperson said the businessman sees the investment as a land banking opportunity. He spotted the estate from the air while looking at another location, and reached out to Tom Barrack, the founder of real estate investment firm Colony Capital LLC, to seal the sale. The ranch was off the market at the time.
Jackson, who died of an overdose of the anesthetic Propofol in 2009 at the age of 50, bought the Los Olivos property, about 120 miles north of Los Angeles, in 1988 for $ 19.5 million. After financial problems, in 2008 he turned over the title to Colony Capital LLC, which held a loan on the property.
Neverland, a name taken from the “Peter Pan” tale of a boy who refused to grow up, became Jackson’s favorite retreat and featured a zoo, railroad, and rides.
It was also there that he entertained children, one of whom brought assault charges against the singer which resulted in a trial in 2005 and Jackson’s acquittal on all charges.
Jackson has vowed never to return to Neverland after the trial.
Burkle is the majority shareholder of Soho House, a private membership club that attracts people from the entertainment and media industries and has properties in New York, London, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.