POWER MOVE: As co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate, has helped build it into a huge money-spinner.
THE RUNDOWN:John Branca plays two major roles in the music business. Firstly, as a partner at Ziffren Brittenham, where he represents clients ranging from Justin Timberlake and Simon Cowell (No. 30) to the Beach Boys and Carlos Santana, and also handles their major deal transactions. Perhaps even more notable, he serves as co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate, which has provided him with an international profile as well as the most identifiable measure of accomplishments in the last year.
An executive producer of “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil,” which grossed more than $147 million in 2012 with some 1.4 million tickets sold, according to Billboard Boxscore, Branca is developing a permanent Las Vegas show with Cirque du Soleil to open in the summer. According to court filings last summer, the estate had generated revenue of $475 million as of May 31. “We are so proud that in three years this has grown to become the biggest celebrity estate in history,” Branca says. “Obviously, the credit goes to Michael Jackson and his unique talent.”
The attorney has also been involved in one of the largest publishing deals of the last few years, advising Sony Corp. as part of a consortium that took control of EMI Music Publishing in a $2.2 billion transaction. He sits on the boards of Sony/ATV (a joint venture with the Jackson estate) and EMI Music Publishing, and has been advising on divestment of some of its assets. He is also advising Ron Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes in the hunt for various music assets, including the highly desired Parlophone label.