Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch sells 10 years after pop-star's death

The sprawling 2,700 acre renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch was purchased by Burkle, an associate of the late pop-singer, as a "land banking opportunity," his spokesman said on Thursday.

Neverland gates (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
Neverland gates
(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
Billionaire investor Ron Burkle purchased Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County, California, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The sprawling 2,700 acre renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch was purchased by Burkle, an associate of the late pop-singer, as a "land banking opportunity," his spokesman said on Thursday.
Burkle's spokesman said the businessman spotted the estate from the air while looking at another location and contacted Tom Barrack, the founder of real estate investment company Colony Capital LLC, to seal the sale. The ranch was off the market at the time.
Once listed for $100 million, then $67 million after failing to attract buyers, the property sold to Burkle for $22 million, equipped with a 12,000 square-foot mansion with an adjacent 3,700 square-foot pool house, 50-seat movie theater and a dance studio.
The property sold more than 10 years after the death of the pop star who abandoned the property following his trial on charges of molesting a young boy there.
Jackson, who died from an overdose of the anesthetic Propofol in 2009 at age 50, bought the property in Los Olivos, about 120 miles (193 km) north of Los Angeles, in 1988 for $19.5 million. After financial troubles, in 2008 he handed over the title to Colony Capital LLC, which held a loan on the property.
Neverland, a name taken from the "Peter Pan" tale of a boy who refused to grew up, became Jackson's favorite retreat and famously featured a zoo, a railway and theme park rides.
It also was where he entertained children, one of whom brought molestation charges against the singer that resulted in a 2005 trial and Jackson's acquittal on all charges.
Jackson vowed never to return to Neverland after the trial.
Burkle is the controlling shareholder of Soho House, a private members club that attracts people in the entertainment and media industries and which has properties in New York, London, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

Reuters contributed to this report.