Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch sells to billionaire for $22 million

The 2,700-acre property initially listed for $100 million in 2015

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Ronald W. Burkle, a billionaire co-owner of the Pittsburg Penguins, has purchased the Sycamore Valley Ranch, formerly known as Neverland Ranch, which was previously owned by the late Michael Jackson.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Burkle, co-founder of investment firm Yucaipa Companies, purchased the property for $22 million.

Burkle previously had ties to Jackson, who died in 2009. According to the New York Times, Burkle once served as financial advisor to the late singer. Jackson purchased the ranch in the late 1980s for less than $20 million, according to media reports that list varying purchase prices and years. The property, which is about 130 miles north of Los Angeles, includes 2,700 acres of land.

An aerial photo shows a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s vehicle in front of singer Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch November 18, 2003 outside of Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The Jackson estate co-owned the residence through a fund under Colony Capital, a real-estate investment trust.

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Jackson lived on the ranch, spending $35 million on building a movie theater, amusement park, train and zoo. During a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Jackson said that the attractions were added to “compensate” for the lost opportunities of his own childhood, as well as entertaining underprivileged and sickly children.

Named for the mythical homeland of Peter Pan, Jackson told Winfrey that the amusement attractions, such as Ferris wheels and bumper cars, “brings out the child that lives inside of everybody.”

Singer Michael Jackson leaves the courthouse with his father, Joe Jackson (2nd-L) and his mother Katherine Jackson, (R) after his arraignment where he pleaded not guilty to a grand jury indictment of numerous child molestation charges on April 30, 2004 in Santa Maria, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Jackson lived on the ranch until 2005. He was accused of molesting children on the grounds of the ranch. While he was acquitted on all counts, Jackson never returned to the ranch. He died on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50 at a house he was residing in Holmby Hills, California.

READ MORE: Michael Jackson estate wins appeal in ‘Leaving Neverland’ suit with HBO

The ranch went on the market in 2015 and was rebranded as Sycamore Valley Ranch after the amusement rides were removed. The asking price for the property was once listed at $100 million back in 2015, according to Wall Street Journal. In 2017, the price went down to $67 million, the New York Times reports.

At $22 million, the transaction came out to 78% below the original asking price.

There had been some consideration to transform Neverland into a museum site for the 13-time Grammy-winner, in the same vein that Paisley Park has become for his late contemporary, Prince. However, such plans never materialized.

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