Celebrity homes: Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, once priced at US$100 million, finally sells for US$22 million

Neverland Ranch

The infamous property was purchased by American billionaire Ron Burkle

After years of never landing a buyer, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch has finally sold.

The infamous estate, which is located roughly 64 km from Santa Barbara, was snapped up by American billionaire Ron Burkle for the relatively modest sum of US$22 million (S$29 million), according to the Wall Street Journal. The property has been on and off the market since it was first listed five years ago and has experienced several price cuts on the way to this sale.

Jackson originally purchased the Los Olivos estate in 1987 and paid approximately US$19.5 million (S$25.9 million). He then set about turning it into a whimsical wonderland, which went on to become nearly as famous as the King of Pop himself. Following the sexual abuse allegations against Jackson and his subsequent death in 2009, the property was renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch by its co-owners, Jackson’s estate and real estate investment trust Colony Capital, and listed for US$100 million (S$132 million) in 2015.

The property failed to sell and was listed for the heavily discounted price of US$31 million (S$41 million) in February 2019. That same month HBO premiered the documentary Finding Neverland in which two men claim Jackson molested them at the Neverland Ranch when they were children. Now, Burkle, a former acquaintance of the singer and co-founder of the investment firm Yucaipa Companies, has nabbed the property at a significant discount, according to public records and people familiar with the deal.

A spokesperson for Burkle told the WSJ that the purchase was an “opportunity” for the entrepreneur to add to his growing California property portfolio. The 68-year-old also helms Soho House and is reportedly on the hunt for new locations for exclusive clubhouses and retreats. It’s unclear whether the ranch was acquired for that purpose, though it certainly features all the requisite luxury amenities.

Spanning roughly 1,092 hectares, Sycamore Valley Ranch is crowned by an expensive 1,114-sqm mansion and features about 22 accompanying structures, including several guesthouses. It also features a 50-seat movie theatre, a 343-sqm pool house and swimming pool, a basketball court, a tennis court, a ‘Disney-style’ train station and even a zoo.

This story first appeared on Robb Report US