This week’s slated meeting in Tokyo between MCA Inc. chairman Lew Wasserman and president Sidney Sheinberg and their Japanese bosses may shed some light on the future of the entertainment company.
Wasserman and Sheinberg, who will be in Japan for the company’s annual meeting, are scheduled to discuss MCA’s 1994 performance and its business plan for this year with execs of parent Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.
The executive committee meeting follows a widely reported battle between Wasserman, Sheinberg and Matsushita top brass over control and growth of the Hollywood entertainment company.
There has been talk that Wasserman and Sheinberg, Hollywood’s longest-running executive team, would depart if their requests to expand the company are not met by Matsushita.
Wasserman and Sheinberg have yet to renew their employment contracts, which expire in December.
Matsushita top execs, attempting to mend the rift, admitted in November to missteps in dealings with MCA managers over major acquisitions. Toward that end, the electronics company recently received a commissioned report from investment banker Herbert Allen & Co. and Creative Artists Agency’s Michael Ovitz that is expected to aid in devising a new business plan for the entertainment company and facilitate better working relations between Matsushita and MCA’s top execs.
Ovitz, who with Allen in 1990 brokered the $6 billion deal between MCA and Matsushita, is scheduled to be in Tokyo this week. Whether he will take part in the meetings could not be confirmed.
MCA sources said an internal analysis of the report will follow, making it several weeks before the report leads to discussions between the entertainment company toppers and their Japanese bosses.
Asked to comment on reports that Wasserman and Sheinberg’s deals would be sweetened in an effort to placate the MCA toppers, a Matsushita spokesman said: “That’s all rumor.”
Another factor that hangs in the balance is MCA’s relations with the new company formed by Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen and the Universal-based Steven Spielberg.
While the MCA execs are traveling to Japan for the annual policy meeting on Jan. 10, an executive committee meeting on MCA issues has been scheduled for the following day.
An MCA rep said the execs will be back in Los Angeles by week’s end.