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12/02/2001

PINEWOOD AND SHEPPERTON STUDIOS MERGE

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EUROPE’S two leading film and television studios, Pinewood and Shepperton, have announced their merger, valuing the combined business at more than £100 million.
The combination of the two studios will create a facility that can compete on a global scale for Hollywood productions and offers an unrivalled level of service, flexibility and comfort. 3i, Europe’s leading venture capital company will be the majority shareholders in the combined business.
Michael Grade, Executive Chairman of the enlarged group, said: “The two studios have been competing for years against each other. In an increasingly global market, this makes no sense. Together, we can enhance Britain’s share of the international movie making business.”
Pinewood was acquired for £67 million from the Rank Group plc in February 2000 by a consortium led by Michael Grade and Ian Dunleavy the Chief Executive. It was financed by 3i, Royal Bank of Scotland and Intermediate Capital Group which have all extended their support for the merger with Shepperton.
Ivan Dunleavy said: “We shall continue to invest in both studios for the future. Both studios have a common customer base, principally the Hollywood majors and UK film and TV producers. By combining the booking of all the stages and support facilities, we will be able to accommodate more productions overall.”
Shepperton was acquired in January 1995 by an investor group headed by Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Candover Partners. Since the acquisition, more than £17.9 million has been invested in Shepperton studios. Candover are selling their interest in Shepperton to Pinewood’s shareholders. Ridley and Tony Scott will remain active shareholders in the enlarged group and continue as Co-Chairmen.
Ridley Scott said: “Britain remains a great place to make movies – this consolidation of our leading film assets is long overdue. Tony and I are committed to the growth and continued success of these historic studios.”
Established in 1928, Shepperton Studios have earned a reputation for being one of the best facilities in the film industry.
Recent films made at Shepperton include ‘102 Dalmations’, ‘The Mummy Returns’ and ‘Shakespeare In Love’. Pinewood have been trading since 1936 and have an equal reputation for world class production, including the James Bond movies.
The focus of the management team will be to build on the existing strong relationships with film, television and commercial production companies. Pinewood and Shepperton are flexible facilities, able to service every size of production.
Both studios have recently built large sound stages and the combination of the facilities will greatly increase the studio’s ability to simultaneously accommodate several large film projects. Pinewood have recently launched a state-of-the-art digital television studio.
The studios also offer the largest ‘silent’ stage in the world, the renowned 007 Stage, exterior and interior water tanks, fully floodable stages, historic mansions, 133 acres of landscaped gardens and backlots enabling production to create venues as diverse as a zoo for ‘Fierce Creatures’ or downtown New York for ‘Eyes Wide Shut’.
The combined Pinewood and Shepperton business has the same number of stages as some of its Hollywood contemporaries. (CD)
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