The late James Brown’s estate has been nought by Primary Wave, a major publishing company, for around $90million (£68million). The deal – which includes everything from James Brown’s name and likeness, to his publishing rights and master income stream – makes him the latest music icon to have his estate purchased by a major publishing corporation.
The enormous deal comes just a year after Brown’s family settled a 15-year-long legal battle over his estate. In his will, he made it clear that his heirs would receive very little of his money, that is, aside from the $2million the late star set aside for his grandchildren’s school fees.
The remaining sum, Brown dictated, was to be used to establish scholarships for underprivileged school children in South Carolina and Georgia. However, his daughter, Deanna Brown-Thomas and Yamma Brown, alongside others, found a loophole that allowed them to inherit millions of dollars following his death in 2006.
Tommie Raue Hynie also attempted to take a share of James Brown’s wealth, claiming that she was the singer’s wife. However, the South Carolina court determined that Hynie was married to another man at the time of her marriage to Brown, making her claim to inheritance null and void. She was subsequently ruled out of any influence over Brown’s estate.
Larry Mestel, the founder and CEO of Primary Wave, has clarified that the sale of Brown’s estate will allow the company to fund the scholarships in the way the singer had originally intended. In addition, a percentage of any future revenue will be dedicated to these scholarships. However, this will only be possible once a lawsuit filed by Adele Pope, an original executor of Brown’s will and Russel Baugknight, is settled
In a statement, Bauknight clarified his enthusiasm for the recent sale, saying: “The James Brown Estate and related Trust are very proud and excited to work with Larry Mestel and Primary Wave. We believe that our choice of professionals to take the James Brown Legacy to the next level is going to prove to be one of the most successful events in Mr. Brown’s long history in show business.”