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Ближний и дальний круг знакомых Майкла. Предполагаемые участники и посвященные в хоакс./The inner circle of Michael Jackson. People that are supposed to be in the know, insiders involved in the hoax.

Джон Бранка / John Branca

Джон Бранка / John Branca

#1  Сообщение Lina » 03 авг 2011, 07:40

Ритулечка, сможешь перевести?

The Prince of Rock


August 2011
by Stan Sinberg


John Branca was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas with his family on June 25, 2009, when he received the news that Michael Jackson was dead. He couldn't believe it. The self-proclaimed King of Pop had just rehired the entertainment lawyer eight days earlier, the latest chapter in their three-decades-long mostly-on, sometimes-off relationship. The pair had a storied history. Jackson was best man at Branca's first wedding (accompanied by Bubbles the chimpanzee, wearing a tux) in 1987. (Little Richard officiated.) The attorney, in turn, was instrumental in both Jackson's famous 1985 purchase of ATV Music Publishing, which included in its catalog some 250 Beatles songs--and the merger, a decade later, of Jackson's ATV Music with Sony Music. Perhaps most intriguing, Branca had persuaded Jackson to release his "Thriller" music video after Jehovah's Witness church elders informed the singer, who belonged to the denomination at the time, that they disapproved of the production because they felt the werewolf and dancing zombies it featured promoted "demonology." Faced with the prospect of trashing the $1.2 million video (the average budget for a music video at the time was a mere $50,000), Branca quickly fabricated a tale that actor Bela Lugosi, one of Jackson's idols, had been a deeply religious man who didn't approve of vampires and put a disclaimer to that effect at the beginning of his Dracula film. Jackson bought the story, placed a similar disclaimer at the beginning of "Thriller," and the rest is music-video history.

When Branca returned from Mexico to Los Angeles, he still didn't know whether Jackson had revised his 2002 will, which named Branca, along with long-time music producer John McClain, as coexecutors of Jackson's estate. Branca hadn't worked for Jackson since 2006, when he quit because he felt the singer was taking advice from people who didn't have Jackson's interests in mind. Today, Branca won't elaborate, saying only that he believed he couldn't do his job if his client wouldn't listen to him.

In the days after the pop superstar's death, it seemed as if everyone who ever met Jackson was hijacking a TV camera to talk into. But not Branca, who after this long in the business knows that the best way to deal with stars' egos and out-sized lives is to keep your own in check. As he puts it, "One of the reasons I think I've been successful over the years is discretion, privacy, and protecting clients' confidences."

He's also willing to do whatever it takes to close a deal. "I've been charming, ruthless, an asshole," he declares, characterizing himself as the guy you give the ball to in the fourth quarter with a minute left.

Until the battle over the Jackson estate captured the world's attention, Branca was better known for representing some of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll. His client list has included 29 members in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--among them the Rolling Stones, the Doors, the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, Carlos Santana, and ZZ Top--plus the Backstreet Boys, Alicia Keys, and Nickelback. But entertainment law wasn't even on his mind back in 1975, when the New York native graduated from UCLA law school and began doing estate planning. Then he read a profile of Elton John in Time magazine that spotlighted entertainment lawyers, and it set off a bell. "I instantly recognized it as what I should be doing," Branca says. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Century City firm that is now Ziffren Brittenham.

Branca credits his father, John, a gregarious and popular local politician, as the source of his "people skills" and his mother, Barbara Werle, for teaching him about "ambition." She was a dancer who occasionally appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and when Branca was five she left to pursue her show-business dreams on the West Coast. He joined her in California when he turned eleven.

Although Branca's name isn't recognizable to the average music fan, he's influenced almost every facet of the business, from the way concert tours are organized and tickets are sold to merchandising and the distribution of royalties.

One game-changer, for example, was his 2005 deal for the rap-metal band Korn. In a traditional contract arrangement, the record company is only involved in promoting a band's CD, leaving the group to handle all of its touring and merchandising arrangements. Under terms Branca brokered for Korn, the band and its record label EMI became partners in everything, creating a synergy between them. That model has since become the norm. Similarly, until Branca put together the deal for the Rolling Stones's "Steel Wheels" tour in 1989, it was standard for each stop on a band's tour to be handled by a different concert promoter. Placing the entire tour under one promoter's control, which, of course, streamlines the entire operation, can also be lucrative for the attorneys involved. (Entertainment lawyers typically receive a percentage of contract advances, future royalties, or both.)

Away from the office, the 60-year-old Branca could pass for a rock 'n' roller himself, with his longish wavy hair, casual white T-shirt, black jacket, and jeans. Much of his persona seems to straddle the line between the worlds of business and show biz: He combines a boyish smile and self-effacing charm with an authoritative negotiating style. The bulk of his professional life has been spent among music megastars, but he still gets bug-eyed with excitement when a memorabilia dealer brings him one of the two known remaining baseballs signed by all of the Beatles. (Branca already owns the other one.) His uncle, Ralph Branca, pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1947 World Series and in 1951 gave up Bobby Thomson's famous "Shot Heard 'Round the World" home run that delivered the pennant to the New York Giants.

Over the years, Branca has also been busily helping clients acquire and sell music catalogs. He handled the sale of Berry Gordy Jr.'s Jobete Music to EMI, and Sony/ATV Music's acquisition of the Leiber Stoller catalog, which included songs made famous by Elvis Presley ("Jailhouse Rock" and "Hound Dog"), the Drifters ("On Broadway"), the Clovers ("Love Potion No. 9"), and the Coasters ("Yakety Yak" and "Charlie Brown"). More recently, he worked for one of the final bidders (Sony/ATV and another company) for the Warner Music Group, which was sold in May for $3.3 billion to Access Industries. In June he was reviewing deal terms for the sale of EMI, the world's fourth largest music company and the record label for Katy Perry, the Beatles, and Pink Floyd.

A generation earlier, it was a client of Branca who made headlines with one of the most famous and controversial music deals of all time: Michael Jackson's acquisition of the publishing rights to ATV Music, which included some 250 Beatles songs, including "Yesterday," "Help!" and "Let It Be." When the deal came down, there was some public grumbling from Paul McCartney, but the artist never seriously bid for the catalog, and later he and Jackson remained friends. John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, who also didn't bid, remarked that she was happy the rights now belonged to Jackson, a fellow songwriter.

At one point, Branca says, he had a handshake agreement to acquire the catalog from Australian businessman Robert Holmes à Court, only to discover that the seller had turned around and struck a deal with a rival bidder. "He fucked me," is how Branca puts it. Then the attorney learned that one of the financiers of the rival deal was a colleague he'd done business with over the years.

"I went to him and asked him to pull the financing," Branca recalls. The colleague agreed, effectively killing the deal with Jackson's competitor, Martin Bandier, then co-owner of The Entertainment Company.

With no ready buyer, Holmes à Court promptly phoned Branca from London and invited him to fly there to jump-start their earlier agreement. "I told him to go fuck himself," Branca says. This was a risky move: Instead of following the usual procedure and waiting until the deal was signed to start due diligence on any outstanding accounting and legal issues, Branca had already invested more than a million dollars in fees to resolve them in advance.

Over the next several days, Holmes à Court called Branca back several times. The lawyer remained noncommittal, even though, he admits, "My ass was on the line." Finally he agreed to fly across the Atlantic, but warned that he'd stay only 24 hours. "I told him if this deal didn't happen while I was there, to never, ever call me again."

Playing hard to get, Branca says, was part bargaining tactic, part payback, and partly to ensure that Holmes à Court wouldn't pull the same stunt again.

Bandier, now chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV, says he thought his company still had the inside track. But then Branca upped the ante. "He offered to have Jackson perform for Robert Holmes à Court's favorite charity," Bandier laughs. (To clinch the deal, Branca also had to accede to Holmes à Court's eleventh-hour demand that his daughter receive the copyright to "Penny Lane" as a "souvenir.")

After losing out on the Fab Four's catalog, Bandier told his partner, "Next time we bid for something like this, we're hiring John." Which is just what they did when they went after CBS Songs.

Judging the worth of a music catalog is part analysis, part instinct, says Bandier. "John has a great sense of the value of a song--which songs will last for a long time, how certain songs can be licensed for commercials."

These were the very qualities that propelled Branca into the "finals" when, in 2008, the Rodgers & Hammerstein estate went looking for someone to handle selling the composers' catalog. All five other contenders were investment banking firms.

During the interview process Branca recounted to Mary Rodgers and Alice Hammerstein how his show-biz mom had been in a touring production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music (she played the baroness) and took him, as a boy, to see the show on Broadway. "It was one of the formative experiences of my youth," he gushes. "I would've done that [catalog] project for free."

"At first I thought we were [considering] Branca as a courtesy" to the entertainment lawyer, says Joshua S. Rubenstein, the estate executor for Richard Rodgers and counsel for the estate. "But it was a family estate," he continues. "We wanted someone who would take good care of the legacy, and John blew us away with his passion and interest. For us, it wasn't just about the money."

Even so, Rubenstein credits Branca with creating strong bidding interest in the catalog, notwithstanding the bottom falling out of the economy that year. "Branca sold it for 95 percent of our highest valuation," he exults.

After Michael Jackson's death, no will more recent than the 2002 document turned up, so Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff eventually granted Branca and producer John McClain temporary coexecutor status.

Initially, Jackson's mother, Katherine, fought to gain control of the estate. She is the guardian of her son's three children and the beneficiary of 40 percent of the estate, and she accused Branca and McClain of conflicts of interest. After Katherine Jackson filed several unsuccessful legal challenges, the dispute blew over, and she has since praised the pair's management of the estate.

Adam F. Streisand, chairman of the trust and estate litigation practice at Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles, represented Katherine Jackson's interests until recently. "John Branca deftly handled the estate and was very effective in stemming the flow of red ink he found," says Streisand, "and he was always amenable to requests I made on Mrs. Jackson's behalf." Other attorneys she has employed over the course of the proceedings declined to comment.

Of course, Jackson's finances were a shambles when he died: Various reports estimated that the entertainer was more than $400 million in the red from a combination of extravagant spending and high-interest loans.

In the weeks before Michael Jackson officially rehired Branca, the attorney had several discussions with Jackson's representatives about what he wanted to accomplish. So as his client's coexecutor, Branca felt he was privy to Jackson's wishes and had a mandate for a three-pronged mission: to get the estate out from under its crushing debt; to provide for Michael's children and loved ones; and to restore the King of Pop's legacy to its former glory. It was a gargantuan task, but the fact that Jackson had recently reached out to him again made it "emotionally fulfilling," Branca says.

The estate's first major commercial decision was to make a documentary about the rehearsal process Jackson had been involved in for an unprecedented 50-concert series in London. Some family members objected that Jackson wouldn't have allowed a rehearsal tape to be released. "But we looked at the tapes," Branca says, "and we saw the Michael we loved--the perfectionist--the one who had great humanity and great respect for his fellow dancers and musicians. And that's why we put the movie out.'" This Is It became the largest-grossing concert documentary in history.

Branca and McClain further transformed the estate's fortunes by refinancing costly debts and putting together deals to open Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil shows (one in Las Vegas and another traveling version); launch an interactive museum and a Michael Jackson-themed lounge at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas; create a best-selling dance game for Ubisoft Entertainment; release ten albums of both old and unreleased music in the coming years; and ramp up Jackson's profile on Facebook.

The result: In the 15 months after Jackson's death, the estate generated $310 million in revenue. By comparison, the Elvis Presley estate, previously considered the "gold standard" in the entertainment business, earned profits of about $25 million over the same period.

"If I do nothing else in my career except having done this for the Jackson estate, I can say I did a great fucking job," Branca crows.

As reverently as Branca speaks about his deceased client, though, the attorney won't comment on the record about other members of Jackson's family. Suffice it to say he feels unappreciated by the clan, and believes some of its members aren't acting in Michael's behalf.

Sometimes in this industry, of course, the best deal is the deal not made. The litigator representing Branca and McClain as executors of the Jackson estate is Howard Weitzman, a partner with Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert in Santa Monica. Weitzman tells how several years ago, when the singer's financial problems were getting out of control, Jackson was advised to sell his interest in the ATV Music catalog that includes Beatles tunes. Branca told him, "If there's one thing you should never do, it's sell that." Jackson listened, and the catalog remains one of his estate's most valued assets.

Branca could surely retire tomorrow and live quite comfortably with his second wife, Linda, and two young sons in their Beverly Hills mansion filled with Italian antiques--but he has no plans to stop working. "I love being a lawyer," he explains. Perhaps more to the point, though, he's a fan of the music and the musicians.

That's one of the reasons that several years ago Branca helped form the Musicians Assistance Program to aid artists suffering from alcohol and addiction issues. It was later merged into MusiCares, with an expanded mission of helping musicians in need to obtain a host of services, including medical and dental care and funeral arrangements; Branca is now its chairman emeritus.

He's also aided musicians from earlier generations who either lost copyrights to their songs or weren't being paid proper royalties. Among them: Don Henley, John Fogerty, the Beach Boys, and members of the Doors.

Between juggling clients of the current generation and caretaking the legacies and affairs of past ones, John Branca will stay busy, keeping the music alive.

Stan Sinberg is a San Francisco-based writer who has worked as a columnist, satirist, and radio commentator.

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Re: John Branca

#2  Сообщение Admin » 03 авг 2011, 11:45

Линусик, только по частям, ладно, времени совсем мало сегодня, а дел, как всегда - просто куча.

Принц Рока

Джон Бранка вместе со своей семьей отдыхал в Кабо, Сан Лукас, когда 25 июня 2009 года он получил известие о том что умер Майкл Джексон. Он не мог в это поверить. Самопровозглашенный Король поп-музыки всего 8 дней назад восстановил в должности своего юриста, последняя глава их тридцатилетних - в большинстве случаев - происходящих в активном общении - иногда в отдалении друг от друга - отношений. У них двоих легендарная история. Джексон был свидетелем на первой свадьбе Бранки ( он явился на церемонию вместе с Бабблсом, своим шимпанзе, который был облачен в смокинг ) в 1987 году. ( Он исполнял обязанности маленьгого Ричарда ). Адвокат, в свою очередь, был весьма полезен в двух самых известных Джексоновских приобретениях 1985 года - каталога АТВ, который включает в себя около 250 песен Битлс - и в объединении АТВ с Сони Мюзик, которое произошло спустя 10 лет. И, возможно, самым уникальным было то, что Бранка убедил Джексона выпустить Триллер, после того как представители секты свидетелей Иогова проинформировали певца, который на тот момент принадлежал их вероисповеданию, что они осуждают его ролик, потому как считают, что оборотни и танцующие зомби поддерживают "демонологию".
Столкнувшись с риском потери 1.2 миллиона долларов ( средний бюджет музыкальных роликов на тот период составлял не более 50.000 долларов ) Бранка быстро выдумал историю, которую актер Бела Лугози, один из кумиров Джексона, будучи крайне религиозным человеком и не любивший вампиров разместил объяснение этому эффекту в начале своего фильма о Дракуле. Джексон купился на историю и разместил подобное объяснение в начале Триллера, и все остальное - это уже музыкально - видео история.

Когда Бранка вернулся из Мехико в Лос Анджелес, он по прежнему не знал, делал ли Майкл поправки в своем завещании, датированном 2002 годом, которое подписано Бранкой совместно с давним муз. продюссером Джоном Маклейном, как сооучередителем эстейта Майкла. Бранка не работал на Джексона с 2006 года, он отошел от него потому что полагал, что певец пользовался советами людей, которые не заботились о его интересах. Сегодня Бранка не будет давать никаких разъяснений по этому поводу, он скажет лишь только то, что он не может выполнять свою работу, если клиент его не слушает.

В дни после смерти поп идола, казалось, что любой кто когда либо встречал Джексона стремился завладеть объективам камер, чтобы засветиться.
Но не Бранка, который после долгих лет проведенных в бизнесе, знает, что лучший способ сражения со звездным эго и нестандартными жизнями это держать свой язык за зубами. Как он говорит - Одной из причин почему я удачлив в своем деле на протяжении стольких лет - это осторожность, соблюдение личного пространства и защита клиенсткого доверия.
Так же он умеет делать все для того, чтобы сделка состоялась. - - Я очаровательный и беспощадный сукин сын - заявляет он, давая себе характеристику человека, которому вы отдадитесь с потрохами в доли секунды.

До того, как борьба за наследство Джексона сосредоточила мировое внимание, Бранка был более известен как представитель интересов нескольких величайших людей с аллеи славы. Среди них - Роллинг Стоунс, Зэ Доорс, Би Джис и др. Но в 1975 не было и мысли о законах шоу-бизнса у этого нью - йоркского паренька, который закончил калифорнийский университет юриспруденции и начал заниматься приобретением положения в обществе.
Затем он прочитал биографию Элтона Джона в журнале Тайм, в которой освещались моменты шоу-бизнеса и дела адвокатов, и это явилось отправной точкой. " Каждую минуту я понимал, что это именно то, чем я должен заниматься " - говорит Бранка и вскоре после того начинает работать в фирме Сэнтри сити которая сейчас носит название Зифрен Бриттенхам.

Бранка отдает должное своему отцу, Джону, популярному местному политику, за то, что он явился источником "людских наук" и своей матери, Барбаре Верле, за то что она научила его" амбициям "
Она была танцовщицей, которая время от времени появлялась в шоу Эда Суливана, и когда Бранке было 5 лет, она уехала для достижения своей мечты на западное побережье. Он переехал к ней в Калифорнию когда ему исполнилось 11 лет.

продолжение следует

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Re: John Branca

#3  Сообщение Lina » 03 авг 2011, 18:52

admin писал(а):Линусик, только по частям, ладно, времени совсем мало сегодня, а дел, как всегда - просто куча.

Конечно, солнышко, когда будет свободное время.... Спасибо тебе. icon_lips

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Re: John Branca

#4  Сообщение Admin » 26 апр 2013, 04:28


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Re: John Branca

#5  Сообщение Admin » 02 июн 2013, 20:35

60 Minutes - Michael Jackson's lucrative legacy (CBS)
60 минут - Доходное наследие Майкла Джексона

Бранка дает интервью программе 60 минут
На 3.00 ведущая ( редкостная стерва, которая уверена, что Майкл виновен icon_chopping ) умничает - типа - Майкл тоже давал интервью программе " 60 минут " и рассказывал, как приглашает детишек в свою постель. Мы не можем этот факт скрывать. На что Бранка с улыбкой отвечает, что он знает Майкла, как очень благородного и достойного уважения человека icon_thumbup icon_clapping
Дальше о том, что Бранка не любит говорить о семье Джексонов, так как они ставят под сомнение его назначение на должность распорядителя эстейта и его способности грамотно управлять наследием Майкла. Говорят о завещании, Бранка подтверждает, что 40% маме, 40 % детям и 20% на благотворительность и что завещание подлинное и что в планах эстейта полное обеспечение и забота о миссис Кэтрин. Дальше эта с...репортерша произносит фразу - " Но Бранке и Майклейну приходилось переживать не только об уродливом внешнем виде виде Майкла icon_chopping icon_shooting , но и огромных долгах, которые он оставил "
Дальше представитель журнала Форбс говорит о том, как Майкл любил тратить деньги, хоть больше в туры не ездил и концертов не давал, но тратил как в 90-е и поэтому на момент смерти у него было полмиллиарда долгов. Далее показывают вещи, которые были в Неверленде. Репортерша ходит с открытым ртом и удивляется, как много всего есть у Майкла - Ух ты, еще один ролс ройс, а вот еще один. Он что, на всех этих машинах ездил? icon_ROFL icon_chopping
Дальше говорят с Бранкой о каталоге Битлс. Он рассказывает, как они его купили за 47 миллионов долларов и как позже объединили с каталогом Сони и он превратился в самый огромный и самый прибыльный на свете каталог и что Эстейт по сей день владеет 50% этого каталога. Дальше она пытается узнать у него, сколько этот каталог приносит денег, Бранка отшучивается, и она предполагает, что он стоит миллиард. Бранка говорит, что для того, чтобы это знать наверняка, нужно попытаться его продать, а этого у них в планах нет, они не продавцы icon_thumbup icon_ROFL
Дальше о том, что Бранка продал " будущие " песни Майкла Сони за 250 миллионов долларов и что это величайшая сделка в истории и про фильм ЗИИ, который они выпустили и который на сегодняшний момент собрал 500 миллионов долларов. А цирк дю Соллей и эстейт имеют прибыль 50 на 50.
Еще Бранка говорит о том, как тяжело справляться со всеми исками с требованиями денег у Эстейта и что таких очень много.
Ну и дальше опять разглядывают вещи Майкла, на этот раз одежду и говорят, что все вещи будут лежать в целости и сохранности, пока не вырастут дети Майкла и не решат, что с ними делать. Репортерша взяла в руки перчатку и говорит - Ого, она такая тяжелая. icon_chopping
Бранка и Маклейн имеют со всей прибыли эстейта 10% и что результат говорит сам за себя - они уже покрыли его полмиллиардовый долг. И дальше она удивляется вместе с форбовским работником, как это так за 4 года ему удалось заработать более 600 миллионов долларов и что это больше, чем заработал любой ныне живущий артист icon_wink :)
И в самом конце эта с...репортеришка говорит - Но его нет, чтобы потратить все эти деньги
Подожди, тупая, завистливая неудачница icon_chopping

Забыла еще про одну ее фразу - " Фанаты забывают о грехах Майкла " icon_chopping ( это когда она с форбовским работником говорила о том, как много всего сейчас выпускается с Майклом и что его наследие живет и процветает )

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Re: Разные интересные статьи

#6  Сообщение Liberian Girl » 09 ноя 2013, 11:43


God knows that writing about John Branca was the least of my desires. He is so controversial a subject that no matter what you write you automatically fall into disfavor with large factions of fans. However this sacrifice will have to be made even if it is my last series of posts in this blog.


The reason for addressing this subject is the overwhelming response I’ve got about Branca to the recent article about AEG.

This has become a tradition with us – I write about AEG driving Michael into the ground and the customary answer I get is that John Branca was not re-hired by Michael Jackson on June 17, 2009 and those who assert it are not to be trusted, Branca first and foremost.

How one thing is connected with the other and why almost any post about AEG should end up talking about Branca is beyond my understanding but since people insist that there is a connection let me try to follow their logic and look into everything they have against this person.

The best place to go to is surely Joe Jackson’s objection to appointing John Branca and John McClain the Executors of Michael Jackson’s Estatemade on November 9, 2009. This document provides all the arguments we need to know about Branca’s alleged or real faults. Why John McClain is mentioned there is unclear as he is not even mentioned anywhere in the text except the title.

Another source is a December 2010 series of Wrap articles, incredibly pleased with themselves for their investigative journalism and dwelling on the on-and-off business relations between Branca and Michael Jackson under the catchy titles of “How Michael Jackson Nearly Lost His Prized Music Catalog”, “The Secret Probe That Got Branca Fired”, “Michael Jackson and John Branca — a Major Wrap Series”, etc.

The series is far from flattering to Branca, is filled with innuendoes towards him (but lots of admiration for Randy Phillips of AEG) and is accompanied by some documents which are the only reason why this series should be looked up at all.

The third source to go to is the testimony of lawyer David Legrand at the 2005 trial who was actually the one who ordered the so-called Interfor report to investigate John Branca as part of Michael Jackson’s inner circle in 2003. He provides first-hand information about why the report was made, who initiated it and what its outcome was.

Now that I’ve read it all I wonder if the people who refer us to these notable papers for alleged evidence against John Branca ever looked up the attached documents themselves or do they believe what they are told without any double checking?

The reason I am asking is because the attached documents prove exactly the opposite of what is said or implied in the Wrap series and Joe Jackson’s papers presented to court. The daring of both authors is simply incredible – the counted on the readers to never look up and it seems that their readers never did.


The Interfor report was made on April 15, 2003 and concerned ALL Michael Jackson’s business associates. No incriminating evidence was found against Branca, however the page on him is going all over the Internet

The myth has it that a certain Intefor report was made in April 2003 by investigators hired by Michael Jackson and as a result of that Branca was dismissed in February 2003.

It is exactly in this ridiculous succession that the Wrap series, for example, claims that the events took place:

Jackson lawyer David Legrand, testified at the singer’s 2005 child-molestation trial that Jackson had hired him to look into the people in his inner circle. But, Legrand testified, “I was given no credible evidence to support the charges; I would be doing Mr. Branca a great wrong if I said otherwise.”

Nonetheless, the report achieved its goal: Branca’s termination.

This is to confirm that I am terminating the services of you and your firm effective upon delivery of this letter,” Jackson wrote the attorney in February 2003. “You are commanded to immediately cease expending effort of any kind on my behalf…You are specifically instructed to transfer any funds you are holding in trust for me…”

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/se ... ired-22850

You are fired. February 2003 (click to enlarge)

The real events came in a totally different order of course and had a different outcome.

The letter of Branca’s discontinuance of service came in February 2003 while the Interfor report was made several months later, on April 15, 2003 and since no wrongdoing on the part of Branca was found he resumed working for Michael Jackson and continued to do so until the year 2006.

What’s interesting is that both the Wrap series and Joe Jackson’s papers contain documents proving that John Branca continued to render legal services to Michael even after the Interfor report.

Joe Jackson’s court paper lists as one of its attachments an Agreement dated April 2006 where Branca’s firm waives the right to the 5% previously agreed fee and states that the moment the Waiver comes into effect Branca’s firm ceases to represent Michael Jackson in any capacity and shall no longer provide any legal or other services to him.

The above means that until such a declaration was made Branca’s firm was providing legal services to Michael and did represent him. The document was signed in April 2006 in the Kingdom of Bahrain and was notarized by the Vice Consul of the US Consulate there:


* “Effective as of the Waiver Effective Date, this is to confirm that the Firm shall no longer be representing you in any capacity or providing any legal or other services to you”

The Agreement was signed in the US Consulate in the Kingdom of Bahrain

That was the document from the Joe Jackson file.

As to the Wrap series it also has a document that proves that John Branca worked for Michael Jackson as a lawyer and advisor after the Interfor April 2003 report and all the more so after the discontinuance letter made several months before that.

The document is John Branca’s letter to Mr. Koppelman sent on July 28, 2003. The letter is scrutinizing the deal initiated by Al Malnik and proposed by Goldman and Sachs and Mr. Koppelman as a way to alleviate some of MJ’s debts to the Bank of America.

Branca spotted numerous points in the deal unfavorable to Michael and suggested their further discussion with Mr. Koppelman.

This alone means that he as lawyer was actively involved in the assessment of the proposal made by a third party and was working out the best terms for Michael in the deal.

One of the Wrap articles confirms that the negotiations were carried out in 2003-2004:

… From 2003 to 2004, virtually the identical financial crisis — almost $300 million of debt, with the songs at stake — was met with a momentous initiative led not by Branca but by a power cast that included Wall Street-savvy Goldman Sachs, veteran music entrepreneur Charles Koppelman and a Florida entrepreneur dogged by mob suspicions, Alvin Malnik.

…In the documents, Goldman’s master financial alchemists began proposing a venture to position Jackson as “the Bill Gates of the music industry” and described how not only the $300 million debt might be whittled but also detailed how the beleaguered legend could walk away with perhaps $1.3 billion — with the Wall Street firm exiting even richer.

But only if he would sell his interest in Sony/ATV and in Mijac, the catalogue of Jackson’s own hits. According to the secret documents, Goldman was prepared even to “drag” Jackson along into a deal to sell them.

As the proposal evolved during more than a year, its fundamental flaw — that Jackson all but surely would forfeit his songs — remained clearly obvious to Branca. More than anyone, Branca knew that owning the songs was one of his client Jackson’s great passions and that the singer worried intensely about them slipping from his grasp.

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/mi ... gain-22420

Even if you don’t know the details of the Goldman and Sachs/Koppelman deal the letter sent by Branca to Koppelman strikes you by a quiet but firm and consistent advocacy for Michael’s rights in each of its points:

July 28, 2003


Mr. Charles Koppelman

C.A.K.Entertainment, Inc.

37 E. 64th St.

Suite 1607

New York, NY10021

RE: Michael Jackson/Goldman Sachs Agreement

Dear Charles,

In follow up to our conversation about the Goldman Sachs deal memo and your suggestion that its term be extended beyond July 31, certain clarifications need to be made as follows:

1. It should be clear that Michael does not contribute, assign or relinquish ownership of his publishing interests unless and until Warner/Chappell is acquired and until it is clear what Michael’s equity interest would be in the combined publishing operation. The capital structure and economic interests of the parties in the venture entities (i.e., Music LLC and Newco) need to be elaborated and clarified.

2. It needs to be clarified that Goldman Sachs and/or the venture will take over responsibility for the Bank of America loans up to $270 million and Michael will have no further responsibility with respect thereto.

3. We need to confirm whether Goldman Sachs will agree to provide an interim guarantee (i.e., Put) for the Miijac loan and, if so, on what basis.

4. You stated that Michael will receive the first $320 million of distributions from the venture (after payment of annual fees). If this is the deal, it needs to be clarified. Merely paying off Michael’s loan obligations without allocating significant cash to him is obviously an insufficient valuation of his publishing interests to justify this transaction.

5. It needs to be clarified that transferring the loans and copyrights into the venture will not be a taxable event for Michael.

6. It needs to be clarified that, in the event of a liquidity event or exercise of the Put, there will be sufficient cash distributed from the venture to cover Michael’s obligations, including tax obligations, direct payment of this firm’s 5% and any other obligation Michael may have as a result of a liquidity event or exercise of the Put. Similarly an exit strategy needs to be devised for Michael to receive fair market value should he wish to exit the venture.

7. We should discuss how Goldman Sachs justifies an annual fee of $5,5 million. It seems high.

8. I’m not sure of the justification for Goldman Sachs to control the Board with five of seven Board seats, giving Michael only two. Whatever the Board membership, Michael should have some control over the management and operation of the venture.

9. The letter of intent imposes broad exclusivity obligations on Michael and none on Goldman Sachs. We should discuss this.

10. There should probably be confidentiality obligations imposed on Goldman Sachs since Michael is disclosing confidential information.

11. Finally, with all due respect, it does not make sense to Michael to tie you in as manager of Mijac as a condition of the loan. Your valuable contributions should be rewarded without interposing you as a condition to Michael’s relationship with the bank.

I am sure there are other issues that need to be address if this goes to long-form.

I look forward to discussing this with you.

Very truly yours,

John G.Branca

Branca was scrutinizing the Goldman Sachs proposal to MJ in July 2003 (or well after he was 'fired' by Michael Jackson). Click to enlarge
Branca was scrutinizing the Goldman Sachs proposal to MJ in July 2003 (or well after he was ‘fired’ by Michael Jackson). Click to enlarge

Cc: Alvin Malnik

John McClain

Zia Modabber, Esq.

Rene Ghadimi, Esq.

Karen Langford

Branca was scrutinizing the Goldman Sachs proposal to MJ in July 2003 (or well after he was ‘fired’ by Michael Jackson). Click to enlarge

The Wrap series also noticed Branca’s zeal in supporting Michael’s interests but attributed it to Branca’s own interest in getting the profit out of the deal:

With his interest linked to Jackson’s, Branca seemed to have little choice but to be a zealous advocate for the entertainer.

In case Michael wanted out of the venture, “an exit strategy needs to devised for him to receive fair market value.” Skeptical of Goldman’s power grab, he insisted that “Michael should have some control over the management and operation of the venture.”

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/in ... deal-22479

The other Wrap article already mentioned here implied that he worked so hard because he “stood to collect millions from the Goldman dealings”:

So why then had Branca worked so hard, as the secret files appear to indicate, for an outcome most feared by his client?

According to entrepreneur Malnik, Branca stood to collect $17 million from the Goldman dealings for a 5 percent interest that he held in Jackson’s stake in the Beatles’ catalog.

Alas, the Goldman deal, more than a year in the making, got no further than the paper on which it was written. Rather, it was scuttled by Jackson against a backdrop of behind-the-scenes hijinks that seemed to mirror his final sad decade, which roiled with scandals, a criminal trial, epic debt and an ever-rotating inner circle.

(A lawyer for Branca responds: “Branca was asked to review a proposal brought to Michael by others and gave advice to Jackson. The decision not to enter into the agreement was Michael Jackson’s based primarily on this. There were no secret files, and ultimately the Goldman proposal was never accepted.”)

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/mi ... gain-22420

The response sent to the Wrap article by Branca’s lawyer makes it clear that not only did Michael approach John Branca for the evaluation of that deal but Michael also acted on his advice and ultimately refused the Goldman Sachs proposal.

However after the deal fell through Branca was accused of trying to make big profit from it by working for Michael too hard. Utterly twisted logic, but how very typical when you are hell bent on smearing someone!

The Goldman and Sachs proposal was not Branca’s doing and the advantages and disadvantages of the deal may be disputed, but what is essential for today’s discussion is that Branca did continue to work for Michael in July 2003, well after his services were discontinued in February the same year, and this is the best answer to Joe Jackson’s statements about Branca allegedly never working for Michael again, which are made in total disregard of the facts.

Добавлено спустя 17 минут 43 секунды:


The reason why Michael didn’t accept the Goldman and Sachs’ project was because it did not cover his full debt to the Bank of America (at least according to its initial variant available to us from the Wrap articles), was giving Michael little liquidity, was reducing his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog to a minimum and was leading to the eventual sale of all his assets including rights to his own songs.

The deal was offered under the attractive cover of Michael Jackson turning into a future “Bill Gates” of the entertainment industry, meaning that he would have a minority stake in a business that would cost many billions.

The January 2004 date of the Wrap article shows us that at that time the project was still under discussion, so Branca must have been still involved in the negotiations over it. This article explains the essence of Goldman Sachs’ proposal:

Inside Secrets of the Goldman Proposal
By Johnnie L. Roberts on December 5, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

…Acting as Jackson’s adviser, Charles Koppelman, the veteran entertainment executive and investor, recruited Goldman Sachs and worked closely with two of its private-equity aces, Gerry Cardinale and Henry Cornell, in crafting the proposal.

Ahead of the proposal, he and Florida businessman Al Malnik also arranged to double — to $70 million — one of Jackson’s two loans with Bank of America, where a Koppelman friend, Jane Heller, happened to handle his and Jackson’s personal accounts.

The confidential Goldman documents detail a proposal with several steps:

>> First, Goldman and Jackson become 50-50 owners in a new company, Music LLC.

>> Next, Music forms a separate company, “Newco,” with new partners — Sony, with its half of the Beatles, and Goldman putting up money.

>> Newco’s assets would be 100 percent of Sony/ATV (the Beatles) and Mijac (Jackson’s hits) and Goldman (more cash).

>> Newco would swallow Warner Music Group’s music publisher, Warner-Chappell, and combine it with Sony-ATV.

A target list also included other publishers — arms of Universal Music Group, BMG or EMI. The goal: industry dominance.

Jackson’s original stake would shrink as more investors entered the Goldman-crafted venture. “Like Bill Gates, Jackson would have a smaller stake in a multibillion-dollar company,” Goldman declared in a talking-point memo dated April 15, 2003.

Within five years, Goldman’s typical time frame for such investments, all would have been monetized in a sale of the venture, most likely to Sony Corp. By Goldman’s projections, Jackson’s share would be $700 million to $1.3 billion.

But backend riches didn’t solve Jackson’s shorter term crisis of repaying the $270 million bank debt. Not to worry. A $135-million Goldman loan would retire the $70-million Bank of America loan and $7-million due Sony. He would catch up on $12 million in overdue monthly bills and have a few million as a cushion.

Goldman planned to repay itself from Jackson’s backend bounty, but it was unclear how he’d repay the remaining $200 million bank loan. This much was clear, however: If he defaulted, Bank of America could legally force him to sell his share of the venture to Goldman, with the proceeds handed out to the bank.

As Jackson’s putative partner, the Wall Street titan would have hogged much of the power: twice as many shareholder votes as Michael in their jointly-owned Music LLC and eight of 10 board seats — or seven if Jackson’s three picks included Koppelman, whom the secret documents show was as much a partner of Goldman as he was an advisor to Jackson.

A Jan. 7, 2004, term sheet — drafted by Goldman’s lawyers at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz — also granted the Wall Street bank “drag-along rights … to require MJ-ATV Trust” (with control over Jackson’s Beatles interest) to participate in the contemplated cash-out deal. Drag-along rights prevent a minority partner from sitting out a sale of the company — something Jackson was apt to try to do.

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/in ... deal-22479

The sums to be lent by Goldman and Sachs to Michael Jackson are detailed in the attached document called “Goldman Sachs’ Proposal”:

* Cash of $35 million to pay off $35 million Bank of America Loan secured against MIJAC
* Cash of $68 million to reduce balance on $200 million Bank of America loan ($132 million balance would remain)
* Cash of $7 million for pre-payment penalty for the Bank of America loans
* Cash of $16 million to handle other current obligations
* Cash of $9 million payable on a monthly basis for the first year.
http://ru.scribd.com/doc/43788454/Jacks ... ldman-Loan

However according to another document called “Current MJ Status As We Understand It” the then obligations of Michael Jackson amounted to $254 million and when the initial $35 loan secured by Michael’s own songs was increased to $70 million with the help of Mr. Koppelman and Al Malnik his overall liabilities reached the sum of $289 million which was far too big to be covered by the Goldman Sachs’ proposal:

* $200 million Bank of America loan, secured by MJ’s Sony-ATV interest with the maturity date of December 20, 2005
* $35 million Bank of America Loan, secured by MIJAC, Neverland Ranch, MJ personal guarantee and other person propery, with the January 31, 2004 maturity date
* $12 million current obligations/liabilities
* $7 million advance from Sony, Signature secured by MIJAC (second lien).
http://www.thewrap.com/sites/default/fi ... plan_0.jpg

To put it plainly Goldman Sachs was giving Michael a loan of $135 million which was covering less than half of his debts.

The ultimate price to be paid for it was Michael’s loss of control over all his assets and getting a small stake in his own catalogs. In five years or so it was to be sold for an estimated $700 mln to $1,3 billion.

However the future of the remaining unpaid debt was unclear and even if the sale of his stake left him some money, all the assets would be gone including the rights to his own songs. Nothing would be left for Michael’s children.

In terms of cash the proposal meant that Michael was to receive $1million every month for the first year and $3,5 million per year ($300,000 a month) for the next 5 years. Goldman Sachs was to receive the annual fee of $5,5 million per year which as John Branca pointed out in his letter as too high.

Now that we’ve learned a little about the terms of the proposed deal Branca’s objections to the deal become clearer to us:

* He wanted Goldman Sachs to take responsibility for MJ’s full $270 mln debt (“It needs to be clarified that Goldman Sachs and/or the venture will take over responsibility for the Bank of America loans up to $270 million and Michael will have no further responsibility with respect thereto”).

* In addition to paying off all the loans he wanted significant cash for Michael as otherwise the deal was not justified (“Merely paying off Michael’s loan obligations without allocating significant cash to him is obviously an insufficient valuation of his publishing interests to justify this transaction”).

* He wanted Michael to have some control over the venture and more than two seats in the seven seat board membership, as well as an exit strategy for Michael enabling him to receive a fair market value in case he wanted to exit the venture.

In short Branca was trying hard to work out the best terms for Michael in the deal. However the Wrap series presented his efforts in extremely vague terms:

But some might conclude that Branca is no hero at all. A proposal in 2003 that would have sold Jackson’s interests in the Beatles’ and Mijac catalogues to the investment bank Goldman Sachs would lead some to question Branca’s role in Jackson’s business affairs.

The response sent to the Wrap article by Branca’s lawyer was:

“While the Goldman proposal might have divested Michael Jackson of his interest in the Beatles and MIJAC catalogues in the long run, it would have created a larger entity that increased the value of his interests. If sold, Branca’s fee would have gone to his firm, not directly into his pocket. Branca advised Jackson that he would be giving up too much control based on the proposal and Jackson vetoed the deal.”

But the best of the Wrap story is its ending. The article said that the deal took more than a year in the making and by the time it collapsed Branca was fired. To prove the point the article refers us… to the February 2003 letter discontinuing Branca’s services and to the so-called “Secret Probe that got him fired” dated April 2003:

Alas, the Goldman deal, more than a year in the making, got no further than the paper on which it was written. Rather, it was scuttled by Jackson against a backdrop of behind-the-scenes hijinks that seemed to mirror his final sad decade, which roiled with scandals, a criminal trial, epic debt and an ever-rotating inner circle.

The bank, which wouldn’t comment specifically on its planning to “drag” Jackson into a transaction, concluded: “We ultimately decided not to pursue the acquisition of these assets.”

As for Branca, by the time the deal collapsed, the superlawyer had been fired.

See Jackson’s letter to Branca: You’re fired.

Read: The Secret Probe That Got Branca Fired

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/mi ... gain-22420

The Wrap article wrapped it up very nicely of course, only the negotiations of the Goldman Sachs deal spanned over the whole year of 2003/2004 while the letter firing Branca is dated February 2003 and the so-called “secret probe” was in April the same year, after which Branca was still advising Michael in the Goldman Sachs’ deal and Michael was even listening to him.

So our conclusion is that as a very minimum Michael rehired him back.


Branca’s legal representation was stopped in April 2006 as we now know from the “Bahrain” agreement. We also know that at least a year before that John Branca must have been still involved in the Goldman Sachs deal as the negotiations lasted until April 2005 when the deal was off.

The April 14, 2005 Fox article announced that the deal was to be signed in the next few days and if we are to believe their sources Goldman Sachs was pressed so hard (by Branca) that now they agreed to pay all Michael Jackson’s debts.

This point I am a little doubtful of, but as to the final figures in the deal we lack the respective documents and therefore have to rely on the highly unreliable Roger Friedman:

Published April 14, 2005


A deal to extricate Michael Jackson from his perilous financial situation is at hand.

I can tell you exclusively that the deal Jackson is being offered must be signed in the next few days, or he really will have his proverbial head on the chopping block.

I’m told Jackson will likely be presented with a deal sculpted by what I call his “permanent government” of lawyers and advisers, not the many shady characters who’ve come and gone over the years.

This “government” includes music publisher Charles Koppelman (who’s also on the boards of Martha Stewart and Steve Madden’s companies), attorneys John Branca and Al Malnik, Jane Heller of Bank of America and private investors represented by Goldman Sachs.

In return, all his debts will be paid off, including $270 million in loans from Bank of America, all the debt piled up at his Neverland ranch and all loans against his own Mijac Music Publishing, which owns Jackson hits such as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” as well as songs by Sly and the Family Stone and others.

Jackson will wind up with somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million in cash, I am told. He will still reap a $7 million to $8 million annual income as well. He’ll also get some income from Sony/ATV.

Sources point out that Mijac is now worth around $100 million, and will be an even better asset once it’s free from debt.

..Bank of America has, according to sources, lost its patience over his mounting debt. If for some reason he doesn’t accept this latest proposal, I am told that he will really be in a dire situation.

Jackson, mind you, is not likely to sign this deal. Insiders tell me that he’s encouraged his fans to spread the word that he’s the victim of a “conspiracy.”

My sources also say that Jackson considers Branca one of the “conspirators,” since his former attorney would reap a 5 percent commission on this sale — almost three times as much money as Jackson will make.

But push has come to shove, to use a cliché, and Jackson is unlikely to find a better deal.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/04/14 ... tles-sale/

Friedman says that in that period of time Michael was distrustful of Branca, and either for this reason or because Michael was afraid to lose full control over his assets (as Branca warned him against) or because he didn’t want to ultimately sell his assets as the Goldman Sachs proposal envisaged it, or because a better deal was offered to him, but their project was not accepted and the very next month, in May 2005 the Bank of America loans were sold to Fortress Investment Group.

This was done via Prescient Acquisitions Group who wanted for their services $48 million (eventually their claim had to be settled by Michael Jackson for an undisclosed sum). The ultimate maker of the deal was Dan Stadler, the advisor hired by Randy Jackson.

Now we know that at least since November 2004 the negotiations with Goldman Sachs and Fortress Investment group were running parallel to each other, and something tells me that Randy Jackson did not consult the lawyer John Branca as to the possible outcome of that deal – which I personally consider a big mistake:

The original Jackson-Prescient-Fortress deal went down in May 2005 while Jackson stood trial in Santa Maria, Calif., for child molestation.

But, unbeknownst to anyone, the negotiations had actually begun in November 2004.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258 ... z24mdWSKzU

So while Branca was working on the Goldman Sachs deal Michael was pressed by his brother and his advisor Don Stabler to look into a different direction.

Eventually it was their advice that he listened too, especially since Branca was warning Michael that the Goldman Sachs deal was not flawless either as he would lose control over his assets there (and would have to finally sell them too).

The NY Daily News article says that pressure to enter into a deal (with Fortress Investment group) was exercised on Michael during the bathroom breaks in the 2005 trial:

SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2007, 4:00 AM

…But during breaks in the trial, Jackson says he was being pressured to sign off on a multimillion-dollar financing deal by Don Stabler, an associate brought in by brother Randy, his go-to guy on financial matters during much of his career.

Jackson initially took a liking to Stabler after Randy introduced them.

“He reminded me of people that live in mid-America like Indiana,” Jackson testified.

Stabler was persistent, at one point during the trial sending a message through one of Jackson’s Nation of Islam security guards that questioned the singer’s faithfulness to his African-American heritage.

It was a sore point for someone who has denied he purposely lightened his skin.

By then, Jackson had turned to Burkle, the billionaire pal of former President Bill Clinton, for financial help. Burkle brought in Jesse Jackson, who’s known Michael Jackson since his Jackson 5 days, to help with the consultation.

Burkle was calling him on the cell phone during bathroom breaks, warning him not to sign anything, Michael Jackson said. Stabler wasn’t happy, Jackson said.

“[Stabler] said, ‘What’s the problem? You’re not down, you’re with the Jews now. You’re not down with blacks anymore,’” Jackson testified.

“It was unkind,” Jackson added. “It was mean. It was meanspirited. It was nasty. Simply because he couldn’t get me to sign something that he wanted me to sign.“

The next time Jackson saw Stabler “he wanted to take my head off.” And his brother Randy wasn’t too happy, either.

Randy later claimed that Jackson and his staff had run up a $700,000 bill on his American Express card during the trial, which Jackson said he would repay.

It wasn’t the first time that Stabler teamed with Randy in trying to get him to sign off on a deal, Jackson claimed.

…Jackson made his comments when he was grilled by lawyers for the Hackensack, N.J., finance company that is suing the singer in Manhattan Federal Court. The firm, Prescient Acquisition, is owned by businessman Darien Dash, who claims Jackson stiffed his company out of $48 million.

According to Dash’s lawyer Steven Altman, Dash was due the money for helping Jackson refinance a $272 million bank loan and secure $573 million in financing to buy out Sony’s half of the Beatles’ song catalogue that Jackson co-owned.

But Jackson claimed he’s never heard of Dash, a cousin of hip-hop impresario Damon Dash, and doesn’t remember signing any agreement.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainmen ... e-1.225010

A year later, in April 2006 Fortress was threatening to acquire Michael’s stake in the Sony/ATV catalog if he did not pay back the debt bought from the Bank of America in May 2005 (with their added highway robbery interest on the loan), and it was Sony who came to Michael’s help and refinanced the deal with a $300 million loan from the Barclay’s bank.

To facilitate the refinancing deal in the “Bahrain” agreement mentioned above Branca gave up the right to a 5% fee to which his company was entitled since the time Michael merged his Beatles catalog with Sony, and sold this right back to Michael for $15 million as Joe Jackson’s court documents state it.

From the later developments we know that the refinancing scheme was a temporary one as it satisified Fortress’s hunger for two years only and in May 2008 they came after Michael’s assets again. Colony Capital and Fortress are in the same business and know each other perfectly well.

Excerpt from Joe Jackson’s case against Branca


Joe Jackson claims that “Branca’s 5% Interest in Michael Jackson’s Performances and Sony/ATV Disqualify Him from Being the Executor”. His reasoning is the following one:

“Michael Jackson signed various retainer agreement with Branca and his firm in 1993 through 1998. In those agreements, Branca took 5% of the proceeds of Michael Jackson’s businesses and performances, and then, without further entitlement, a 5% ownership interest in the Sony/ATV catalog royalties, all of which were the subject matter of his representation. Branca took a percentage of Michael Jackson’s business proceeds without regard to the work performed.

[ Изображение ]
Excerpts from Joe Jackson’s case against Branca[/align]

These contract for representation not only constituted conflicts of interest, but also violated Branca’s duties as a lawyer by taking an interest in the subject matter of the representation. The Sony/ATV catalogue has been valued in excess of $1 billion for Mr. Jackson, and a 5% interest represented an unearned fee of $50 million, plus the distributions attributed to that 5% interest.

…In April, 2006, Michael Jackson paid Branca $15 million to get back his 5% interest in the Sony/ATV catalogue. When Branca filed his Petition to be Executor of Michael Jackson’s Estate, he concealed from the Court this multimillion dollar transaction and material profiting from the 5% interest in Michael Jackson’s business.”

I have several objections to the above.

First of all by the year 2009 the fee of 5% had long been not paid to Branca or his firm in accordance with the “Bahrain” agreement of April 2006.

Second, there is a document attached to Joe Jackson’s papers saying that Branca had waived his right to that fee even earlier, when Michael was obtaining a loan from the Bank of America National Trust & Savings Association and Branca wanted to facilitate that loan transaction. The document dated the year 1998 says that the firm would waive payment of the 5% fee “through September 2005” with respect to future “guaranteed advances” and the “put price”. Under the same document the fee sum of $2, 275,000 payable to them was also to be discounted to $1,864,200.

In 1998 Branca waived the right to his fee “through September 30, 2005″

For what period the discounted sum was charged and whether the fee was waived fully or partially, for good or for a limited period of time, I have no idea.

But you will still agree that the general impression of Branca’s offer makes a decided difference from everything we’ve ever read about Michael’s other associates.

None of them ever gave up their right to charge Michael for money and none of them gave him any discounts.

Almost all of them sued him at the first opportunity presenting itself and this even despite their big friendship with Michael and their ardent love for him (like Dieter Wiesner, for example).

And Branca is offering to waive the right to his fee for several years and is discounting the money owed to him?

My third objection is that Joe Jackson’s papers make it unclear what he means by the 5 percent. On the one hand he calls it “an interest in the royalties”, and on the other hand he says that Branca’s share was $50mln in comparison with the catalog costing $1 billion which implies that Branca’s firm had a 5% stake in the catalog itself.

But this very statement from Joe Jackson makes me exclaim that even if Branca had a $50 million stake in the catalog, the $15 million price he charged for it means that he sold it at one third of its market price!

He could have surely sold it to the other side (Sony) and they would have gladly paid the required $50 million to have a stake bigger than Michael’s by a full 10 percent and changing it into 55% for themselves and 45% for MJ – however Branca never did it.

The Wrap series also claims that Branca had a 5% stake in the Sony/ATV catalogue, and while both they and Joe Jackson are trying hard to prove that Branca is a profiteer, the facts are testifying exactly to the opposite.

If Branca was charging a fee, we know that he gave it up for a considerable period of time. And if it was his stake in the catalog he sold it back to Michael for a purely nominal sum.


The Wrap article tells us how that 5% came about.

After cancelling the Dangerous tour Michael owed the tour promoters a fortune and one of his lawyers suggested selling the Beatles catalog for $75 million. Branca advised him against it and instead arranged a merge with Sony which brought Michael $150million cash from Sony. This is when he asked for a 5% fee on the deal which amounted to $7,5mln (which in my opinion, was a fair price for so big a profit).

The Wrap article says:

…Three years later, Branca got a phone call. “Branca, it’s Michael. You think I should sell half of ATV Music for $75 million?”’

One of several lawyers was proposing just that, to raise cash, which Jackson was in dire need of. The child molestation scandal, which had exploded earlier that year, would ultimately cost him $20 million in a private settlement. He owed promoters a fortune after suspending a world tour. Neverland was draining cash. What’s more, he was addicted to prescription drugs.

Branca realized he had an opening to return to Jackson’s side. He’d come back and fix everything — but this time it would cost Jackson up front: 5 percent of ATV Music (the Beatles), as he had proposed before his firing.

The woeful Jackson assented.

But even though they would reunite, the old relationship was never to be again. Branca would now find himself to be just one more member in the rotating cast of characters in Jackson’s life.

And with Branca now owning the 5 percent stake, Jackson became paranoid that his lawyer would want him to sell his song rights.

On the other hand, Branca did see an ATV transaction with Sony as an answer to Jackson’s cash crisis. But instead of an outright sale, he proposed a merger of Sony’s music publishing operations and ATV.

Thus, in 1995, Branca pulled off another coup: Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Jackson owned half of a much larger company, and pocketed a $150-million check from Sony. If Branca were entitled to 5 percent, his take totaled $7.5 million.

Estimates of its value range from $1.6 to $2 billion, and in recent years it generated operating cash of $100 million to $130 million a year, according to the New York Times.The publishing income alone, which Sony and the Jackson estate divvy up, should acount for tens of millions a year in estate income — as it used to for Jackson.

Yet, amazingly, his financial woes would only worsen. By 2003, he owed $270 million alone to the Bank of America in two massive loans through MJ ATV Publishing Trust, which owned Michael’s Sony-ATV stake, and MJ Publishing Trust, which controlled Mijac, repository of Michael’s songs. If Jackson defaulted on either loan, he could be forced to sell the songs to Sony, with the bank collecting the proceeds.

…Finally, Bank of America threw in the towel, selling the loan (and Beatles collateral) to Fortress investment, which charged Jackson double-digit interest rates. Utter disaster, however, was staved off only by a bailout arranged by Sony, which guaranteed a $300 million Barclay’s loan.

In 2006, Jackson’s and Branca’s on-again, off-again relationship hit a new low. Branca quit Michael this time in what, according to two top music industry executives familiar with the situation, was a broader dispute.

They suggest that Branca, Michael and Sony clashed over the lawyer’s 5 percent when it became a complication in Michael’s bail-out. The settlement: Branca sold it back for millions of dollars.

(A lawyer for Branca responds:

“Branca’s fee was not an issue. Branca settled his equity in those assets in which he had an interest for much less than its fair market value.”)

http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/mi ... ired-22423

I absolutely agree. If it was really a stake in the catalog he sold it for much less than its fair market value.


Branca’s letter of 1993 on the future fee arrangement

Branca’s letter of 1993 attached to Joe Jackson’s papers was written exactly at the time described by the Wrap article.

It was evidently the moment when the merge with Sony was contemplated and Michael Jackson was rehiring Branca as his General Counsel in music, television and home video businesses as well as real estate acquisitions.

Branca's letter of 1993 on the future fee arrangement
Branca’s letter of 1993 on the future fee arrangement

The letter specifies the fee arrangement with Michael and says that it will be 5% from all his proceeds received by Michael beginning with next year.

If he tours and bears the show costs appropriate deductions will be made. The fee will not include litigation costs.

In short its text does not have even a suggestion of Branca aspiring to have a stake in the future Sony/ATV catalog:

RE: Fee Arrangement

Dear Michael,

The purpose of this letter is to confirm our fee arrangement with you and your various companies. We shall render services for you as your general counsel in the music business (an, ancillary to music, in the television and home video business). We shall render services in other areas (such as real estate acquisitions) as we shall mutually agree upon. You shall have the right to terminate our services at any time.

During the term of our engagement, we shall receive five percent (5%) of any gross monies actually received by you or any related entity from songwriting and music publishing (including the publishing companies comprising ATV and Mijac), recording, television, home video programs, merchandising, personal appearances, commercial endorsements, sponsorship and from the operation, sale and/or other disposition of any assets owned by you or any such entity; provided, however, that excluded from the foregoing commission shall be personal appearances, engagements and sponsorships performed in 1993. If you tour, we will work out appropriate deductions for any show costs, as that term is contently understood (e.g., sound and light), that you are required to bear.

Notwithstanding the foregoing our commission fee with respect to recording income shall commence in connection and simultaneous with the renegotiation of your Sony Records contract with respect to the delivery of a studio or a “Greatest Hits” album; and our commission with respect to your Mijac publishing income shall also commence simultaneous therewith.

The foregoing compensation does not include out-of-pocket costs; such as travel, telefaxes, messengers, photocopying and long-distance phone calls. These costs will be billed periodically. In addition, the retainer does not include any services which this firm does not customarily provide, such as litigation, tax, securities or trademark representation. We do not typically bill the five percent (5%) fee. Instead, we depend upon clients and their business managers to send us checks as and when income received.

We believe that this fee arrangement is fair and reasonable under California law, including the California Rule of Professional Conduct. We urge you to consult, if you wish, with an independent lawyer of your choice about this fee arrangement. If you or any independent lawyer have any questions about this fee arrangement, please fell free to call me.

If you wish to discuss the foregoing, please feel free to call me. Otherwise, please sign a copy of this letter below and return it to me.

Kindest regards,

John G. Branca

Agreed to and accepted

Michael Jackson

Some of you will say that paying 5% of all proceeds for the work of a General Counsel in music, television, home video businesses and real estate acquisitions is too big a commission.

I will disagree because others around Michael did not do a fraction of what was done by John Branca but still demanded 15% and more for a mere bringing the parties together (Tohme).

Or charged 10% for “promoting” the This is it tour the tickets for which sold within minutes without them moving even their little finger (AEG) and charged the additional 5% as a Producer’s fee (I am talking of the AEG official figures only).

Or asked for $5 million for his part in making a This is it film upon which he had no bearing at all (Dileo).

Repeating the words of LeGrand, a one-time Michael Jackson’s lawyer who testified at the 2005 trial, let me say that I’m not concerned about people making money, but I am concerned when people want excessive amounts in relation to their contribution. Branca’s contribution seems to me quite a substantial one and a justified one at that.

So when I receive comments like the recent one implying that Branca exploited Michael Jackson and just made money off his back:

“Whenever anyone wants to consider who made money off of Michael’s back during his lifetime and after, the firm of Ziffren Brittenham must be placed at the top of that list.”
All I want to do in reply is shrug my shoulders and ask:

Я готова верить, но надо знать во что!

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Re: Разные интересные статьи

#7  Сообщение Liberian Girl » 18 ноя 2013, 01:18



John Branca says “There’s definitely music coming” to Billboard Magazine


John Branca (председатель The Michael Jackson Company и соисполнитель the Michael Jackson Estate) говорит о новых проектах Michael Jackson в Billboard Magazine:
“Есть определённый музыкальный проект, но я не могу заранее сказать о том, когда же он будет представлен", говорит Branca, который также отказался говорить о других проектах Jackson, которые будут реализовываться вне выпусков альбома.
“У Michael была такая же политика, которой мы пытаемся следовать, а именно не говорить о вещах, пока они не готовы быть выпущенными. Нам нравится держать эти проекты под обёртками, пока они не будут готовы для всех. У нас есть много идей и проектов, мы продолжаем над ними усиленно работать, но пока мы не готовы об этом объявить".

Источник http://www.billboard.com/
Я готова верить, но надо знать во что!

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Re: Джон Бранка/John Branca

#8  Сообщение MagicalLove » 11 дек 2013, 18:18

Happy Birthday MJ Executive John Gregory Branca/С днем рождения Джон Бранка.Ему исполняется 63 года


Happy 63rd Birthday John Branca. Thank you for keeping Michael’s Legacy alive. – MJ-Upbeat.com

Cool Photos Below

John Gregory Branca, who owns a house in Mount Vernon turns 63 on Wednesday.

Born: December 11, 1950 (age 63), Bronxville, NY
Spouse: Linda Branca
Children: Jessica Branca, John Connor Branca, Dylan Gregory Branca
Parents: John Branca Sr., Barbara Werle
Education: UCLA School of Law, Occidental College
His mother, Barbara May Theresa Werle (6 October 1928-January 01, 2013) was an entertainer and Harvest Moon Ball winner who danced on The Ed Sullivan Show.[5] She moved to Los Angeles when Branca was four to pursue her show business career. Branca lived with his father, also named John, who later served as the New York State Athletic Commissioner. (His uncle, Ralph Branca, pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers for many years, including the 1947 World Series.[6] He is portrayed in the Jackie Robinson biopic “42″ as one of Robinson’s earliest supporters.)

At age 11, Branca moved to LA, and at 13, started a rock band, The Other Half, for which he played guitar. Three years later, he played with a band that occasionally opened for The Doors at LA’s Hullabaloo Club.

He majored in music at Los Angeles City College before transferring to Occidental College. Upon graduating, he enrolled at UCLA School of Law, serving as editor-in-chief of one of the law reviews, and received his degree in 1975.

While working as an estate planner at the firm of Kindel & Anderson, Branca came across a Time Magazine profile of Elton John which mentioned entertainment lawyers. Branca realized that this field of law was his true calling.

Branca, an entertainment lawyer, who specializes in representing rock and roll acts, as well as independent investors, music publishing catalogs, and independent music labels, was born on Dec. 11, 1950 in Bronxville, N.Y.

Branca has represented 29 acts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, Carlos Santana, Aerosmith, The Beach Boys, ZZ Top, Fleetwood Mac, Bee Gees and The Doors, which is believed to be more than any other entertainment attorney. Other clients have included Alicia Keys, Berry Gordy, Dick Clark, Dr. Dre, Justin Timberlake and the Backstreet Boys. Among his clients outside the music world: Forbes magazine, Penthouse magazine, Playboy magazine, investor Ron Perelman, MCI and Mike Tyson.

Branca was also involved in the formation and sale of Interscope Records, the sale of Rhino Records, and represented Rick Rubin and his American Recordings label. As a partner in the law firm of Ziffren Brittenham, Branca is one of a handful of attorneys to have been included in all editions of the prestigious Best Lawyers in America.

Branca is currently the chairman of the large corporation, The Michael Jackson Company, and serves as co-executor of the Michael Jackson Estate..

Source: mountvernon.dailyvoice / MJ-Upbeat.com

Article: http://mountvernon.dailyvoice.com/neigh ... ory-branca

you are in my heart forever icon_colorfulherats

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Re: Джон Бранка/John Branca

#9  Сообщение ЛенаДжексон » 25 янв 2014, 09:44

Бранка на 47 месте в сотне самых влиятельных людей по данным Билборда.
Никто и не сомневался icon_lotsoflaugh
Но я бы его несомненно на первые позиции выдвинула, ибо влиянием нужно обладать гигантским, чтобы такое провернуть :) icon_hiding

John Branca ranks at number 47 at the 2014 Billboard Power 100 list

NO. 47
John Branca
Partner, Ziffren Brittenham

Staged Michael Jackson’s second posthumous comeback with the debut of “Michael Jackson One,” a permanent Cirque du Soleil residency in Las Vegas

It’s been a busy year for John Branca. The music super-lawyer, best-known as the co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate, negotiated the sale of Elvis Presley’s intellectual property to Authentic Brands in November and helped Carlos Santana extend his residency at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas through the end of 2014.

As head of the music practice at Ziffren Brittenham, Branca also oversees a cadre of lawyers who represent such acts as Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Linkin Park, Selena Gomez, Rick Rubin, Trent Reznor, David Guetta and numerous other A-listers.

Branca also wears a second hat: executive producer. Last year, he produced “Michael Jackson One,” a Cirque du Soleil residency at Mandalay Bay that opened in May. The show, staged in a custom-built theater, complements Branca’s other Cirque du Soleil production, “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” which just ended its third year of touring to become the ninth-top-grossing tour in history, earning $325.1 million from 407 performances worldwide since its debut in October 2011, according to Billboard Boxscore.

“With music’s ongoing shift to digital, economic power continues to reside in live touring, artist brands and delivery systems.” For Branca, that means a transition from straight contract deals to becoming a producer who consistently orchestrates new entertainment experiences.


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Re: Джон Бранка/John Branca

#10  Сообщение MagicalLove » 19 фев 2014, 17:29

Exclusive Q&A with J. Branca (Hits Daily Double)


Exclusive Q&A By Bud Scoppa
February 18, 2014

Marty Bandier called John Branca "the #1 publishing lawyer in the country." 60 Minutes described the work we he’s done for the Michael Jackson Estate as "the most remarkable financial and image resurrection in pop culture history." Jackson himself hailed his longtime advisor as "the greatest lawyer of our time." And in the eyes of Berry Gordy, Branca is "the Smoky Robinson of deal making." When reminded of the effusive praise he’s received, Branca laughs uneasily. "It’s a wonder I have such a small ego," he quips. The fact that Branca, a partner in the firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP, reps or has repped 29 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame puts further demands on his attempts to keep his head from swelling to the size of a basketball.

With all these accolades being heaped on him, and all these all-star clients, you might expect to see Branca sitting among the Hollywood fat cats sitting courtside at Staples Center for Lakers games—he could certainly afford it. But this proud UCLA alumnus prefers to be on the floor at Pauley Pavilion, which he helped renovate, to watch his beloved Bruins ball. Our own Bud Scoppa recently challenged Branca to a game of one on one and was wowed by the attorney’s ability to score from all over the court, including his deft inside moves; what follows is the play by play.
You’ve been involved with the music business since the 1970s, and from a relatively objective vantage point. During that time, how has the economic landscape of the business changed?

It has changed substantially. When I got started, the primary delivery system for music was 33 RPM LP records that retailed for $7.98, $8.98 and $9.98, and touring was a way to help promote the records. With the introduction of CDs, technology actually helped increase dollar volume from record sales. The labels were charging $17.98 and $18.98 for the same albums they previously had charged half that price for. So, for record royalties and record sales for both labels and artists, it was a boom time. I can recall a period in my own practice before prevalent technological piracy where we had multiple artists who were selling over 10 million albums in the U.S. and 20 million worldwide, such as Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Carlos Santana with Supernatural, The Backstreet Boys, TLC and Usher.

Adele is the one exception, and look, there have been artists recently—Justin Timberlake, Nickelback and Michael Jackson, among our clients, and Katy Perry and Taylor Swift—who still sell a lot of records, but record sales are not what they used to be. Obviously, revenue is now moving into streaming and other delivery systems. The other thing that has changed dramatically is that where tours were once a way to promote records, it’s now the other way around for artists. Records are now an advertising tool to sell concert tickets and merchandise. I laugh, because when I represented Michael and the Jacksons on the Victory Tour, there was outrage at $28 ticket prices. If Michael were to go out today, it would not be surprising to see ticket prices in the $500 to $1000 range, so the revenue potential has expanded dramatically for artists in touring and in merchandising, while it has shrunk with record sales.

So that means the superstar artist is getting more money relative to the label, which has always been dependent on record sales. How does the traditional music business survive in the midst of present-day economic reality and the technological revolution?

It adapts and takes advantage of new opportunities as they present themselves, like streaming. It’s interesting, but every technological change underscores the value of great artists, great catalogs and great songs. Having worked with Michael, the Elvis Presley Estate, The Rolling Stones, Santana, The Bee Gees, The Beach Boys, The Doors and others, the value of those brands and those catalogs never goes away, so it’s just a matter of repositioning.

Given the critical importance of touring as a revenue stream, where do you stand on the labels’ attempts to strike 360 deals?

The issue and the problem with label 360 deals is expertise. Most labels, without significant additional staffing and investment, do not have expertise outside of the record area. They certainly don’t have expertise in touring. They’ve acquired expertise in merchandising by acquiring merchandising companies. They may have the leverage at the beginning of an artist’s career to be involved with touring income, but, by and large, they don’t have the ability to add value and to deliver on those rights.

That’s where Live Nation has a leg up on the labels in terms of the high-end artists.?

Yes, both Live Nation and AEG from the artist’s point of view, which is where I sit. I was involved with The Rolling Stones in helping to bring in Michael Cohl, who then pioneered the model of when an act went on tour, they would sell multiple rights to one promoter and, in The Rolling Stones’ case, that involved tour sponsorships, merchandising, advertising, etc. That was the Steel Wheels tour. We did the same with Korn with EMI, with a record label. Then we did that with Nickelback and Shakira in their Live Nation deals. Those deals are not perpetuating. I think 360 deals are now rare, certainly at the top level of the business.

These days, you’re best known as the executor of the Jackson estate. What does that job entail, and what have you accomplished?

I’m co-executor with my good friend and brother, John McClain. We started as co-executors, but the Probate Court appointed us as co-managers, so John and I are the managers of Michael Jackson and the Michael Jackson brand. That encompasses everything from making business decisions on which projects to pursue, and creative decisions on the content of those projects, as well as overseeing the financial arrangements of the Estate. I think John and I are most proud of several things. First, we co-produced the movie This Is It, which has become the largest-grossing documentary and largest-grossing concert film in history. We’re very proud of the Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour, which has grossed approximately $350 million and is now coming back to North America, and it’s certified as one of the biggest grossing tours in history. And now, we’ve got a brand new show in Las Vegas, Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay, which has been met with critical reviews and incredible box office success. Those are just the projects. What we’re most proud of is the passion that we have for Michael. We both had intimate relationships with Michael, and to be able to both help perpetuate Michael’s legacy and introduce him to a new generation of fans has been perhaps the most exciting part of the job.

You’ve done that, to a large extent, in conjunction with Epic, I assume, or with Sony, as a whole?

Yes, certainly on the record side. I think the key to managing any artist or any brand is picking the right partners. Certainly, in the record area, Sony and Epic have been an outstanding partner, as Sony Pictures was on This is It andCirque de Soleil is on the two shows. Also, on the Jackson Estate, we’ve been fortunate in being able to work with many great individuals, including Karen Langford, Howard Weitzman, Joel Katz and Dave Dunn, who help to make us look good.
ИзображениеBranca with his two idols, longtime client Michael Jackson and the Wizard of Westwood, legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.

How and when did you become involved with Michael Jackson, and how did that relationship evolve?

Michael and I started working together in January of 1980. It was just after the release of Off the Wall and he had just turned 21. Over time, it evolved to the point where, on the Thriller album, I was able to assist him on many projects, including making the "Thriller" video and buying the Beatles catalog, among other things.

In retrospect, it’s mind-boggling that the Beatles’ catalog was even on the block. Back in the 1960s, The Beatles had participated in a corporate structure to minimize taxes that resulted in them losing control of their copyrights. Over the years, those copyrights were bought and sold and, ultimately, were owned by ATV, which was an English company controlled by an Australian millionaire named Robert Holmes à Court. When he decided to sell the catalog, it was marketed widely, and when I found out it was for sale, Michael and I talked about it We were, at that time, embarking on a campaign to purchase copyrights. We had already bought the Sly and the Family Stone catalog, for example. Michael had me check with both Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono to see if they were bidding and they were not, so we went after it, and we ultimately got it.

Nice one. What did you pay for that?

$47,500,000, and we sold off Bruton Music, a background music library, to Clive Calder for about $6 million, so Michael’s net price was $41,500,000. That was in 1985. We merged it with Sony in 1995, creating Sony/ATV Music, which Michael owns half of. Then, last year, I was fortunate enough to represent and consult Sony and Marty Bandier in the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, which created the biggest music publishing conglomerate in history.

Was that a complicated set of maneuvers?

It was very complicated. A lot of credit goes to Rob Wiesenthal, as well as Marty Bandier. Rob was one of the financial engineers of that transaction.

In your practice, you wear several different hats. Can you describe the various roles that you play in terms of specific clients and undertakings?

Well, one of the things that I enjoy most is helping to buy and sell assets, and I don’t do this in a traditional sense. We are not traditional lawyers at our law firm, in the sense that if somebody has made a deal and they want somebody to paper it, we’re not the right guys for that. We’re proactive in helping our clients strategize their business and maximize their income opportunities not just in music, but in motion pictures, television and the digital space as well. So I’m often brought in to help engineer the purchase of assets like EMI Music, and the sale of assets like Virgin Music or Elvis Presley Enterprises last year. That’s one of the things I enjoy the most. Over the years, we were involved in the formation and sale of Interscope Records, for example, and we were consultants to Vivendi in the acquisition of Universal Music. Also, we work side by side with the best personal managers, in terms of strategizing a client’s brand and business opportunities, so we’re often brought in as lawyers and co-members of the management team, as we did with Michael and The Rolling Stones, and as my partner David Lande does with Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys. These are the kinds of things that we enjoy over and above our traditional role as music lawyers.

Can you explain the value of having cross-disciplinary team?

It is critical in this day and age to be able to cross boundaries and assemble a great team. Our firm is known as being preeminent in all areas of entertainment, with such outstanding attorneys as David Lande, Skip Brittenham, Ken Ziffren, Sam Fischer and Matt Johnson, among others. Thus we have been at the forefront of deal making in many areas. We helped form and sell Pixar for Steve Jobs, for example. We helped spin off DreamWorks Animation, also, and we represent DreamWorks. We represent Oprah Winfrey in strategizing her TV business. We represent A-listAcademy Award-winning actors and filmmakers, like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Sandra Bullock and Tyler Perry. We’re involved with Simon Cowell, and we represent American Idol. We’re involved in all areas and all facets of entertainment business.

Wow, you’ve been in the thick of a lot of the most significant moves of the last several decades. That’s remarkable. To a certain extent, that is a marketing gig, right?

Yes. For example, I was hired by the Rodgers & Hammerstein organization a couple years ago to sell Rodgers & Hammerstein. Something like that is especially exciting to me, because I grew up loving musicals like The Sound of Music, so we’re brought in not just to do the paperwork, but actually to help put together the offering materials and the marketing of the company to the financial marketplace, just as we assisted Apollo, Core Media and the Raine Group last year in selling Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Can you explain the Grammy nominating process, which has puzzled a lot of people during the last couple of months? What’s your involvement with that ball of wax?

I do not have direct involvement with the Grammy nominations, but I was the Chairman of MusiCares and the MusiCares fundraising campaign and in that position was able to work closely with Neil Portnow and Ken Ehrlich. And knowing Neiland his whole team, they are very conscientious and to do the very best job. I have noticed a proliferation in Grammy categories over the years, and it almost seems like it’s getting more and more specialized. People who might have an expertise in country music may not really have an expertise in the latest rap artists.

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