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Prince Estate's Deal With Universal Declared Null and Void in Court

16 July 2017, 03:26 | Patty Hardy

Prince Estate's Deal With Universal Declared Null and Void in Court

Prince's longtime lawyer L. Londell Mc Millan, seen outside the Carver County District Court in Chaska Minnesota in May 2017

Eide noted that it has been suggested Universal is bluffing and would not really file a lawsuit in California if he did not rescind the contract.

A judge has ordered Prince's estate to repay $31 million to Universal Music Group after voiding a deal concerning the late artist's infamous vault of unreleased music.

Universal and the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson issued the following joint statement on the matter: "Universal Music Group and the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson welcome the court's approval of our amicable resolution to this matter".

"This court believes that the estate must proceed in a cautious manner to preserve the assets of the estate", said Kevin Eide, a judge in Carver County where Prince died at his secluded Paisley Park studio.

The estate will continue to work with Universal on Prince's music publishing and merchandise.

Since Prince's death from an accidental overdose of painkillers, his estate has brought his music to all streaming services and Warner has reisssued an expanded version of his classic 1984 album-soundtrack "Purple Rain".

UMG had agreed to purchase the massive amount of unreleased music in Prince's vault back in January, but nearly immediately following the purchase the music giant began to have second thoughts and sought to find a way to cancel the transaction.

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But industry lawyers have said that any future deal may be clouded by this dispute, in which Universal argued that it had been duped into paying for rights that were already held by a rival company, Warner Bros.

When Universal announced the agreement in February, it said it would start to gain those rights next year.

The temporary administrator of the estate at the time of the deal was Bremer Bank and the special music advisors were McMillan and Koppelman; they have since been replaced by Comerica Bank and Spotify executive Troy Carter, respectively.

McMillan, who was Prince's longtime lawyer and earned a commission from the deal, said that Universal had carefully reviewed the contract and that it remained enforceable.

Another source of conflict was that Warner Bros. "We stand by our work".

Universal's $31 million deal with the Prince estate has been declared void in court. For the estate, that may cause complications in its efforts to find a new buyer or may lower the value of the catalogue.

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