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Pioneer Says Paramount Came Calling : Entertainment: The Japanese firm says it was approached about buying the film unit, but the U.S. company denies it.

From Associated Press

Pioneer Electronic Corp., a major Japanese maker of audio products, said today that U.S.-based Paramount Communications Inc. had approached it with an offer to sell its motion pictures division.

A Pioneer official said his company declined the offer, one of several reportedly made by the U.S. entertainment and publishing giant to Japanese companies.

“They contacted us last year, around autumn, I think,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I am not sure whether you can call it an official approach. It was a very preliminary thing.”

But Paramount denied today that it sounded out several Japanese companies about a possible sale.

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“It is a falsehood. We never contacted them,” said Nick Ashooh, Paramount’s vice president of corporate communications.

Japan’s leading business newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, reported that Paramount is concerned about keeping in step with the recent merger of entertainment software and electronics hardware industries.

The newspaper said Japanese companies are being cautious about a Paramount purchase because of concern about a U.S. backlash.

Other major American movie studios recently have come under Japanese control. Last month, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. purchased MCA Inc., owner of Universal Studios, for $6.6 billion. In September, 1989, Sony Corp. bought Columbia Pictures for $5 billion.

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Paramount Communications apparently was seeking to sell Paramount Pictures to Japanese companies in part because of their advanced technology for broadcasting television signals via satellite and high-definition television, Nihon Keizai reported.


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