Guiding the deal that will earn $750 million for Michael Jackson’s heirs, John Branca leads the roster of 41 of the top legal minds in the music business.
LAWYER OF THE YEAR
JOHN BRANCA, 65
Partner, Ziffren Brittenham
A consultation with the music industry's top lawyer might run you only about $6 if you happen to be at the Beverly Glen Deli when John Branca gets there in the morning. Branca makes the seven-minute drive to the low-key eatery, just south of Mulholland Drive, from his home in Beverly Park, the gated Beverly Hills enclave where he has lived for the past 21 years, and where his neighbors include Sumner Redstone, Rod Stewart and Mark Wahlberg. "It's good to be the poorest guy in the neighborhood," he jokes.I
The poorest guy in that neighborhood still drives to breakfast in a $300,000 Rolls-Royce Wraith, though if you're picking up his breakfast tab it won't run you much: $2.95 for the Cheerios Branca favors, and an additional $2.95 for some fresh blueberries.
"It's like my office," says Branca of the Beverly Glen Deli, where on any given day he'll see Brian Wilson or veteran manager Howard Kaufman. "I'm shocked they don't charge me rent.
Of course, if they did, he can afford it. Branca, a divorced father of three, has long combined rock'n'roll swagger -- as a teenager, he played in a Sunset Strip garage band that opened for The Doors -- with a dangerously sharp business acumen.
The mid-March announcement that the Sony Corporation will acquire the Michael Jackson estate's 50 percent interest in Sony/ATV Music Publishing for $750 million caps a stunning revival for the estate, for which Branca has served as co-executor, along with John McClain, since Jackson's death in 2009. At that point, the estate carried debts of more than $500 million.
When the Sony buyout gets expected final approval from European regulators later in 2016 or early in 2017, the estate will pay off some $250 million in debts and be left with more than $500 million cash on hand. That's a better than $1 billion turn around.
Read more at source: Billboard staff BILLBOARD