For Sale: Could Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch be Qatar's next trophy asset?

Private equity firm organising the $30m sale has long-standing, close ties to the Gulf state
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

The home owned by the late singer Michael Jackson is set to be sold by its owners Colony Capital, a US private equity firm which has close links to Qatar, it was revealed late last week.

The mansion is situated on the 2,680 acre Neverland Ranch and located 210 km northwest of Los Angeles.

Named after the island in J.M. Barrie’s story of Peter Pan, part of it was acquired by Colony Capital in November 2008 for $23.5 million during a period when the singer was struggling to pay his mounting debts.

“We’ve really just been custodians of an irreplaceable estate and are proud to say we’ve restored it to the original elegance Michael first envisioned,” Thomas Barrack Jr., the founder of Colony Capital, told Bloomberg. “We are now considering putting it up for sale.”

The Bloomberg report said the property was now valued at around $30.3 million.

Jackson died in 2009 and a spokesperson for his estate said it is “saddened at the prospect of the sale of Neverland which, under the agreement negotiated during Michael’s lifetime, Colony has the right to sell… We hope and trust that any new owners of Neverland will respect the historical importance and special nature of this wonderful property.”

While no official bidders have been announced, Barrack and Colony Capital have long-standing close relations with Qatar and both have jointly invested in a number of trophy assets in the past.

In 2010, Barrack recruited the Qatar Investment Authority to be the main investor in the $663 million to buy Miramax, the Hollywood studio behind films such as Kill Bill, Shakespeare in Love and Chicago.

Barrack in 2011 sold French football club Paris St Germain to Qatar and in 2012 he sold Sardinia-based luxury resorts firm Smeralda Holding to the Gulf state for approximately $1 billion.

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