SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Michael Jackson, who has been living in Bahrain since he was acquitted of child molestation charges a year ago, is moving to Europe, has fired his business managers and has hired a New York-based firm to oversee his business affairs, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The announcement from Raymone K. Bain said that she has been named general manager of the new Michael Jackson Company which will replace Jackson's MJJ Productions.
She said that Jackson also is planning public appearances and will begin performing again. "He is reviewing numerous offers to tour musically, which he plans to embark upon within the next several months," the announcement said.
"Mr. Jackson has previously announced plans to record an album which he predicts will be released in 2007," it said.
Bain's press release said that Jackson has severed ties with his Bahraini lawyers and his longtime accountants and business managers, Bernstein, Fox, Whitman, Goldman & Sloan. She said he has hired L. Londell McMillan and The McMillan firm, "known for business restructurings and turnarounds."
In a deposition during a lawsuit about to go to trial in Santa Monica, Jackson was asked about his longtime business manager, Alan Whitman, and said that he thought he had never met him.
The revamping, which Bain's release called "the first of a sweeping restructuring of his personal and business affairs," is an apparent attempt by Jackson to salvage his financial affairs.
Bain did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press seeking elaboration on her written announcement.
Jackson is currently in Ireland "on personal business" and is making plans to relocate to Europe, the press release said.
"He is continuing to build his management team and other appointments will be forthcoming," said the announcement.
Jackson had been rumored to be on the verge of bankruptcy for some time. But in April his Bahraini lawyers announced that he had restructured his finances in a deal with Sony Corp. which shares ownership of his valuable music catalog that includes the Beatles' hits.
Details of the deal were never confirmed by Jackson but published reports said he had negotiated a $325 million debt refinancing plan that would deprive him of part of his share of the Sony ATV music catalog which is said to be worth $1 billion.
Jackson acquired the catalog in 1985 for $47.5 million but sold half of it to Sony when he confronted other financial problems.
Jackson recently had to shutter his elaborate Neverland ranch in Santa Ynez because of unpaid salaries and insurance fees.