The board of MCA Inc., one of the nation's largest entertainment companies, is expected to meet in New York today to consider Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.'s bid for the Hollywood conglomerate.
After weeks of bargaining, and years of flirtation with various suitors, MCA Chairman Lew R. Wasserman is pondering a Matsushita buyout offer that is said by several sources to be lower than the price he had long demanded for his company, which owns Universal Studios.
Individuals close to the talks have said negotiators were discussing a deal under which MCA shareholders would receive between $70 and $75 a share, or as much as $6.85 billion, including cash and the value of stock in a new spinoff that would own the company's New York-area television station.
MCA insiders said Wasserman has talked in the past of getting as much as $100 a share for MCA and had expected the negotiations with Matsushita to be conducted in a framework ranging between $75 and $90 a share, or as much as $8.22 billion.
But Matsushita and its top U.S. representative, Creative Artists Agency Chairman Michael Ovitz, offered less, apparently arguing that MCA's worth has declined because of softening markets in the United States and in Japan.
"I would be personally shocked to see a deal for $70 to $75. Shocked and disappointed," said Michael Klein, an executive with Los Angeles-based Gruntal & Co., which represents what Klein said was a "huge group" of MCA shareholders.
MCA shares dropped $3.125 to $65.375 as more than 1.6 million shares traded hands Friday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, amid reports that any buyout would probably bring less than had been expected.