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Name Dropping : Parent Firm Won't Be 'MCA' Anymore

December 10, 1996|JAMES BATES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The name MCA Inc. largely disappeared Monday from the Hollywood landscape.

In a move expected for some time, Seagram Co., the beverage and spirits giant that owns the entertainment company, changed the name of the corporate parent to Universal Studios Inc.

The move reflects in part Hollywood's current obsession with "brands" and developing name identities that can be attached to a variety of entertainment products marketed globally.

The MCA name will disappear from most of the company's operations, with the notable exception of its music unit, where the name has always had a strong identity.

In making the change, the company unveiled a new logo playing off Universal's use of the globe that appears at the beginning of films released by its Universal Pictures unit.

MCA Chairman Frank J. Biondi Jr. said the name change "reinforces Universal's association with the excitement of Hollywood and the best in entertainment, and reflects the company's unified vision for the 21st century."

MCA was founded as Music Corp. of America in 1924 by the late Jules Stein as a talent company booking bands.

After current Chairman Emeritus Lew Wasserman joined the company in 1936, it branched out into representing such Hollywood talent as Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Joan Crawford, James Stewart and Henry Fonda. MCA formally merged with Universal Pictures in 1962 when MCA bought Decca Records, then the parent company.

Seagram bought 80% of the company last year for $5.7 billion from Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial.

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