The Federal Communications Commission said yesterday that it had approved the transfer of a New York-area television station from MCA Inc. to MCA shareholders, removing a barrier to the sale of MCA to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. of Japan.
Under federal law, Matsushita as a foreign corporation is barred from owning MCA's WWOR-TV, based in Secaucus, N.J.
The station will be spun off to MCA shareholders in the form of a separate company.
Under the FCC's decision, entertainment giant MCA will be allowed to complete the divestiture on condition that three MCA officials resign either from MCA or from its subsidiary MCA Broadcasting Inc. and WWOR.
MCA officials were not available for comment because the company was closed for the Christmas holiday, said a guard at MCA's headquarters in Universal City, Calif.
Matsushita, a conglomerate known in the United States for its Panasonic, Technics and Quasar brand names, agreed last month to acquire MCA, parent of Universal Studios, for $6.6 billion. It is the largest purchase of a U.S. company by one in Japan.
In addition to its motion picture business, MCA also owns book publishing and music publishing assets, retail and mail order businesses, food and lodging concessions at Yosemite National Park, 49 percent of Cineplex Odeon theaters and 50 percent of the USA cable TV network.
To deflect criticism of foreign ownership of an interest in the Yosemite concessions, Matsushita has said that MCA's Curry Co. subsidiary, the concessionaire, will be sold within a year. Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan has said the federal government itself may want to acquire the services.