Jackson's Neverland may be sold to Beyonce and Jay-Z
Pop's biggest names in a tussle to own the estate that was once home to Bubbles the chimp
BEYONCE and her husband Jay-Z are reportedly looking to buy Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch, believed to be worth about $34 million. American music's most famous couple have been given a tour of the sprawling 3,000-acre property in Santa Barbara, California, reports the London Evening Standard.
Neverland has "largely been abandoned" since Jackson's death in 2009, the Standard says. But if anyone can afford to renovate the estate, it's Beyonce and Jay-Z. She's worth $350 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth, while he has $460 million "and counting".
The couple have a child, Blue Ivy Carter, but it seems unlikely they'll want to reinstate Jackson-era facilities such as a petting zoo, statues of children or a fairground featuring a Ferris wheel, pirate ship, rollercoaster and dodgem cars.
There also seems little chance that Jackson's chimp Bubbles will be invited back to his old home by the new owners. Pop's most famous primate wasn't named in Jackson's will and has been living in an animal sanctuary since his death, reports the Daily Mail.
But Beyonce and Jay-Z may still be gazumped on the Neverland deal because Lady Gaga is also interested in the property, says The Sun. A source told the paper: "Lady Gaga is obsessed with Michael. She's become good friends with his sister La Toya and would love more than anything else to restore Neverland to its original state."
Apparently Gaga doesn't want to buy the place outright, but would be happy to own "a share" to help Jackson's children "hold on to their childhood home".
Jackson sold the ranch to an investment company in 2008 when he got into financial trouble. It bought his $23 million mortgage, but the singer's children – Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket – still hold a "big stake" in the company, the Sun says.