After 15-year fight, James Brown estate sold for $90 million

James Brown Statue - Downtown Augusta, GA
James Brown Statue - Downtown Augusta, GA
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 3:01 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After a decade-and-a-half dispute between heirs and administrators, the estate of James Brown has been sold.

The buyer is Primary Wave Music.

The roughly $90 million deal includes music rights, real estate and Brown’s name and likeness.

The legal challenges go back at least a decade concerning the will, and who gets control of the music copyrights.

The deal also paves the way for something that was very important to the entertainer who called Augusta home, and that’s funding scholarships to help kids who need them.

“In this exciting partnership with the estate, Primary Wave Music has acquired a stake in Brown’s publishing, master recording income stream, and name and likeness rights,” the company said in a statement. “Primary Wave will also continue a partnership with the estate, which will include several projects related to The James Brown 2000 Trust, which was established in 2000 by Mr. Brown for charitable and educational purposes.”

The estate will now have access to Primary Wave’s entire marketing team, digital team, publicity department, branding team and publishing infrastructure, the company said.

“The James Brown Estate and related Trust are very proud and excited to work with Larry Mestel and Primary Wave,” said Russell Bauknight, fiduciary for the James Brown Estate and Trust. He continues, “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. Browns long history in show business.”

Larry Mestel, CEO and founder of Primary Wave Music added: “I FEEL GOOD! Wow, I am awed that Primary Wave has been chosen by the estate of James Brown to partner with the Godfather of Soul. We are thrilled to help continue the expansion of his influence and further his legacy through both his music and The James Brown 2000 Trust.”

Primary Wave Music is home to some of the most iconic songwriters, artists, and record labels across the history of recorded music including Sun Records, Bob Marley, Prince, Stevie Nicks and many more. The songs represented by Primary Wave include over 700 Top 10 singles, and over 300 No. 1 hits.


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