Billionaire Ron Burkle Buys Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch

Billionaire businessman Ron Burkle has purchased Michael Jackson’s famed Neverland Ranch in California. The businessman bought the 2,700-acre property in Los Olivos, near Santa Barbara, as a land banking opportunity, his spokesperson said Thursday in an email. Jackon owned the home and private amusement park from 1988 until 2005. Following Jackson’s death in 2009, the estate was put up for sale in 2015.

The Wall Street Journal reports the property was sold for $22 million to Burkle, a co-founder of the investment firm Yucaipa Companies and an associate of the late pop star. The businessman, who built his capital by buying and selling grocery store chains. Recently, he invested in the Beverly Hills-based APA agency via his Yucaipa Companies firm.

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The original asking price of the Neverland property was $100 million in 2016 then dropped to $67 million in 2017. Aside from the 12,500 square-foot main residence and a 3,700 square-foot pool house, the property has a 50-seat movie theater and a dance studio and a “Disney-style” train station, a fire house and barn. The ranch’s association with sexual abuse allegations was described as a reason for a substantial decrease in value.

Burkle has been interested in Zaca Lake, which adjoins the property, for a new Soho House, a members-only club with locations in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Toronto. Burkle ultimately backed out of the deal. Burkle is the controlling shareholder of Soho House. After seeing the property from the air, Buerkle put in a purchase office.

Neverland Ranch was searched by police officers in connection with the People v. Jackson trial after he was charged with multiple counts of molesting a minor in 2003. Jackson was acquitted of all charges, yet, Jackson stated he would never live at the property again as he no longer considered the ranch a home and did not return to Neverland.

In 2019, Burkle funded Weinstein Co. executive David Glasser’s film and television production company 101 Studios, which is set to produce a number films per year.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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