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Sony may sell music publishing unit to Jackson estate: Report

Sony could soon give up its rights to some of music's most famous tunes.

The company may sell its half of Sony/ATV Music Publishing to the Michael Jackson estate, the catalog's co-owner, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing sources. The newspaper reports that Sony recently exercised a contract clause that allows one party to buy out the other.

Sony
Noriyuki Aida | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The late "King of Pop" and Sony had each held a 50 percent stake in the company since 1995. Sony/ATV, the world's biggest music publishing company, owns copyrights for songs by artists ranging from the Beatles to Marvin Gaye and Taylor Swift.

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Publishers like Sony/ATV hold rights to lyrics and melodies and can license them out. The company's estimated value is about $2 billion, according to the Journal.

Sony declined to comment on the report to CNBC.

Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.