Ron Burkle buys Michael Jackson’s “Neverland Ranch” for $22M

Sale comes after years of Colony Capital shopping the notorious estate

Michael Jackson’s “Neverland Ranch” has found a buyer: Billionaire investor Ron Burkle (Getty, Redfin)
Michael Jackson’s “Neverland Ranch” has found a buyer: Billionaire investor Ron Burkle (Getty, Redfin)

Billionaire investor Ron Burkle has purchased Michael Jackson’s former “Neverland Ranch” for $22 million, a far cry from the $100 million the sprawling estate was once asking.

Property records spotted by the Wall Street Journal show that a “Remember LLC” bought the 2,600-acre Santa Barbara County plot on Dec. 17, and the publication traced that LLC back to Burkle. The seller is a joint venture between the late pop megastar’s estate and Colony Capital, which bought the note on the property in 2008 and became a co-owner.

The ranch spans 2,700 acres and its centerpiece is a 12,000-square-foot mansion. The property includes a 50-seat movie theater, a basketball court and a tennis court.

Colony has tried to unload the property at various points, including for an ambitious $100 million listing price in 2015. The 5225 Figueroa Mt. Road land in Los Olivos has since hit the market a half-a-dozen times only to be later pulled, according to Redfin.

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This includes the home coming to market for $31 million in February 2019 — the same month HBO premiered “Finding Neverland,” in which two men claim Jackson repeatedly molested them, including at the Neverland Ranch, when they were children.

In the wake of the HBO documentary and an earlier molestation trial against Jackson, Colony tried rebranding the property as “Sycamore Valley Ranch.”

But it would appear that Burkle, whose Yucaipa Companies made a fortune selling supermarket chains, got a bargain. Santa Barbara County has given the property an assessed value of $34 million.

Burkle is an active real estate investor and owns a number of trophy properties. In 2016, he paid $13 million for the Bob Hope house in Palm Springs and oversaw an extensive restoration. [WSJ] — Matthew Blake