NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–The phones at Fortress Investment Group LLC began ringing Thursday morning, and had not stopped by afternoon. The subject of all the calls? Michael Jackson.
Yes, that Michael Jackson.
Lilly Donohue, head of investor relations at Fortress, which manages US$15 billion in capital, spent the day issuing polite “no comment” statements to reporters asking about news that Fortress had purchased two loans, estimated at a total of US$270 million, originally issued to the former pop singer by Bank of America.
According to a story posted on CNN Money that quoted “people familiar with the matter,” B of A sold the loans to Fortress. Which would make sense, based on Fortress’s investment history, which includes a special situations fund that, according to the firm’s website, “originates and purchases high yield loans made to acquirers of distressed assets, obligors who need cash quickly to take advantage of an opportunity and obligors who are asset rich and liquidity poor.”
The latter would certainly describe Mr. Jackson, who is currently on trial for alleged child molestation. Mr. Jackson’s lavish spending habits have been well-documented, as have his debt-financing strategies. As collateral for the hundreds of millions in loans he has taken out, Mr. Jackson has pledged a part of the Beatles song catalog he owns jointly with Sony, a venture worth an estimated US$400 million. He has also pledged the copyrights to his own songs, estimated to be worth about US$75 million.