Report: Matsushita Considering Sale of MCA Entertainment
NEW YORK (AP) _ Matsushita Electric Industrial is considering selling all or part of MCA Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported today.
The Japanese firm, which acquired MCA five years ago for $6.59 billion, had discussed selling 49 percent of it to Tele-Communications Inc. and others over the past year, the newspaper reported.
Now Matsushita has been approached by several parties, including Seagram Co.’s Bronfman family, Bertelsmann AG, and Polygram NV. TCI is reportedly still in the picture as well.
MCA owns Universal Pictures, MCA Records, a 50 percent interest in USA Network and a 23 percent interest in Cineplex Odeon Corp., among other holdings.
Relations between Matsushita and MCA’s American management have deteriorated since the Americans insisted on more autonomy and fiscal freedom last year.
The embarrassing public rift with MCA chairman Lew Wasserman and President Sidney Sheinberg, whose contracts expire at the end of this year, has spurred the Japanese firm’s interest in selling, the Journal reported.
Wasserman and Sheinberg have been frustrated by Matsushita’s refusal to consider such major acquisitions as a television network or record company.
Increasingly, entertainment companies have been forging links with distribution companies like cable television and telephone companies. TCI is the nation’s largest cable concern.
Matsushita has retained advisers ranging from Goldman Sachs & Co. to Creative Artist Agency’s Michael Ovitz to help evaluate MCA’s assets. Ovitz brokered the original sale of MCA to Matsushita.