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Michael Jackson Signs Deal With Pepsi, Announces Tour

PEPSICO Inc. said Monday that it will turn to pop icon Michael Jackson for the third time in eight years in an effort to reach the teenage consumers who are the target market in its ongoing battle against Coca-Cola.

Under a new sponsorship agreement, Pepsi will underwrite a four-continent tour by Jackson beginning in June, and the pop singer will star in a new series of commercials for the soft-drink company.

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Pepsi called the arrangement the largest sponsorship deal ever between a corporation and a musical entertainer, but an official declined to say how much the agreement was worth, other than to say that Jackson will be paid "a lot."

The tour, in support of the singer's album "Dangerous," will kick off in Europe and travel to Asia, Australia, and Latin America. A Pepsi official said there are no plans yet for a US tour.

Jackson's new single, "Remember the Time," was released Sunday with a national broadcast of the song's video. [The 9-minute video, directed by John Singleton (who made the film "Boyz N the Hood") stars Eddie Murphy, super-model Iman, and Magic Johnson, according to the New York Times.]

The singer, who appeared at a contract-signing ceremony in Radio City Music Hall in New York, said the only reason he is touring is to raise money for Heal the World, a charity group he is founding to benefit children and the environment.

"My goal is to gross $100 million by Christmas 1993," said Jackson.

Tommy Mottola, president of Sony Music, said Jackson's new album on the company's Epic label has sold 10 million copies in its first two months. That is an even faster pace than "Bad" and "Thriller," the entertainer's two best-selling albums of the 1980s, Mottola said.

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