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Time Seeks to Pull MCA Executives Into Buyout Battle

June 28, 1989|KATHRYN HARRIS | Times Staff Writer

In its messy battle to fend off a hostile takeover bid by Paramount Communications, Time Inc. now seems willing to bruise a corporate bystander by demanding sworn testimony from MCA Chairman Lew R. Wasserman and MCA President Sidney J. Sheinberg.

MCA and Paramount are partners in overseas film distribution as well as USA Network, a cable television channel. Among other things, Time has requested contracts concerning the cable network's ownership, according to MCA.

The Time maneuver was made public Tuesday when MCA lawyers asked a federal judge in Los Angeles to quash deposition subpoenas for Wasserman and Sheinberg. MCA asked the court to hear the matter Thursday--the same day Time hoped to take the MCA executives' testimony.

In New York, an attorney representing Time said that to his knowledge, depositions are not being sought at any other Hollywood studios. "There is nothing I can tell you about it. We have reason to believe they may know something relevant," said John Beerbower, a partner of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

"We think there's no basis for it," said Ronald L. Olson, the Los Angeles attorney representing MCA. "We don't know anything about the Paramount offer, which is the (basis of the) dispute."

An initial round between Time and MCA ended in a draw last Friday when Time tried unsuccessfully to serve the subpoenas at MCA's "Black Tower" headquarters. The process server was barred from the executive suite, according to MCA's filing, but "threw the subpoenas at a security guard in the parking lot . . . then knocked the guard to the ground with his motorcycle as he drove away."

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