No MCA Breakthrough

MCA Inc. chairman Lew Wasserman and president Sidney Sheinberg met in Osaka last week with their Japanese bosses, but the contentious issue of greater autonomy for the Hollywood management team was ostensibly not discussed.

Sources said that while no meeting has yet been set on the issue, the subject would likely be discussed in either spring or summer by Wasserman, Sheinberg and Yoichi Morishita, president of MCA parent company Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.

Morishita, however, on Jan. 10 reiterated to reporters during a news conference that Matsushita has no intention of selling its entertainment subsidiary.

Japanese newspapers quoted Morishita from the same news conference as also saying that Matsushita has no plan to relinquish greater control of the entertainment company to Wasserman and Sheinberg. Matsushita would not confirm the report.

Spokespeople for both Matsushita and MCA said the Jan. 11 executive committee meeting consisted of discussion about MCA’s business dealings for the fiscal year that ended Dec. 31 and plans for this year.

“There were no other issues besides the business review of 1994 and the business plan for 1995 discussed at the executive committee meeting,” said a Matsushita corporate spokesman.

One Matsushita source told Variety that the company had no intention of discussing greater autonomy for Hollywood management during the executive committee meeting, which the company did not feel was an appropriate forum.

The meeting was described by an MCA source as having been cordial. The last meeting of the MCA toppers and their Japanese bosses in San Francisco in October reportedly did not end so amicably. It was during that meeting that Wasserman and Sheinberg reportedly articulated to Matsushita execs their desire for greater control of the Hollywood studio.

The MCA spokesman would not comment on other issues, including whether Wasserman or Sheinberg had renewed their employment contracts that expire at year’s end.

“We still have time (on the contracts),” said the Matsushita spokesman. “We will have time to discuss other matters in the future.”

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