Hollywood Flashback: In 1988, Donald Trump Nearly Bought Universal Studios

Courtesy of Brian Smith/Corbis
Trump, then 49, with daughter Ivanka, then 14, in 1996.

"Let's put it this way: If Donald Trump had bought MCA, it would have become a very different company," says then-president Sid Sheinberg.

This story first appeared in the Oct. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Even for someone as energetically un-P.C. as Donald Trump, his recent comment in September about daughter Ivanka, "If I weren't happily married and, ya know, her father," was a stunner.

A spokesperson said the Republican presidential candidate was only mocking "his tendency to date younger women," even though Trump, 69, mostly has been married since 1977, when he tied the knot with Ivanka's mother, Ivana. He left her for mistress Marla Maples, whom he wed in 1993 and divorced in 1999. Since 2005, he has been hitched to Slovenian model Melania Knauss, 45.

However, one legal union that Trump desired never happened: In 1988, he filed papers with the SEC announcing his interest in acquiring 25 percent of MCA Inc. On its front page, THR reported that the media company's stock jumped more than 10 percent on the news. But Trump never followed through — despite the widespread opinion that MCA's considerable assets (which included Universal Studios) were undervalued.

"Let's put it this way: If Donald Trump had bought MCA, it would have become a very different company," says then-president Sid Sheinberg. The play had its advantages: Trump made a tidy profit on the 375,000 MCA shares he previously had snatched up at $40 each.

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