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Neverland Ranch

Michael Jackson can keep his fabled Neverland Ranch for at least another two months, his lawyers said.

A public auction of the 2,500-acre estate in central California's wine country had been scheduled for next week after Jackson went into arrears on the 24.5 million dollar (12.3 million) he owes on the property.

The auction has been postponed until May 14 by "mutual agreement" of Jackson and his creditors, said Julie Wagner of Financial Title of San Francisco, the firm that filed the default papers.

Jackson's lawyer Londell McMillan, who said that the pop star had worked out a deal with Fortress Investment Group LLC allowing him to retain the property, did not return a call for comment.

Fortress declined to comment, saying it does not discuss its business dealings.

Jackson bought the property in the rolling hills of Los Olivos, 150 miles north of Los Angeles, from real estate baron William Bone in 1988 and turned it into his personal playground.

He brought in more than a dozen amusement park rides, including a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel and rollercoaster and installed a zoo complete with flamingos, giraffes, elephants and orang-utans.

At the height of his popularity in the late 1980s and 90s, he invited children by the thousands on to the grounds, where they would spend the day playing and feasting on candy floss and popcorn.

Once hailed as the "king of pop," Jackson saw his financial empire begin to crumble as his record sales plummeted in recent years. His image took a further hit when he was arrested on child molestation charges in 2003.

He left Neverland after a jury acquitted him in 2005 and is said to be living overseas.

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