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March 20, 1996

Michael Jackson in Deal With Saudi Prince

PARIS -- Michael Jackson, the American singer, and Prince Walid bin Talal, the Saudi investor, announced Tuesday that they had formed a joint venture to promote entertainment based on "family values."

The two multimillionaires, appearing together here, said the new group would be called Kingdom Entertainment.

A spokesman said the company was considering opening offices on several continents to develop such projects as animation, movies, books, character licensing, hotels, recordings, theme parks and theme restaurants. But the partners and their public relations agents provided no financial details or dates.

The vast business empire of the prince, who is a nephew of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, includes ownership of nearly 25 percent of Euro Disney, outside Paris. It was not clear whether the new venture would have any link to Euro Disney, in which Walt Disney Co. holds a 39 percent stake.

Prince Talal and Jackson stressed their devotion to "family values." When a reporter, referring to their different backgrounds, asked if these would be Western values, a spokesman said they would be "wholesome" and "traditional."

The prince said, "Michael Jackson and I share the same entertainment interests and the same essential values."

One of the venture's first projects will be to sponsor Jackson's planned world concert series, the "History Tour."

Jackson said he wanted to be "actively involved in all facets of the "global multimedia explosion."


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