NEW YORK (AP) _ NBC was scooped in reporting that its parent company, General Electric Co., is selling its $3 billion-a-year consumer electronics business, and the head of its news division says he is embarrassed.

''We got beat on it,'' Lawrence K. Grossman, president of NBC News, said Thursday. ''We missed it. Others had it and we should have had it and I'm embarrassed.''

GE pioneered the consumer electronics business and its plans to sell that division became known Wednesday and reported by ABC and CBS.

''As soon as I saw it on the other broadcasts, I knew that it was an unacceptable situation that we didn't have it,'' Grossman said.

NBC is being struck by the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians - a third of NBC's work force - but Grossman said the strike is ''no excuse'' for missing the story.

NBC also chose not to carry the live coverage of Secretary of State George Shultz Thursday testifying at the congressional Iran-contra hearings.

''It was a close call,'' Grossman said. ''Having been given to understand there would be no news coming out of it, we made a judgment call. Those are the decisions I get paid for and it is my responsibility.''