The Pinewood Group, which includes the iconic Pinewood Studios in England’s South Buckinghamshire, as well as Shepperton Studios and several offshore hubs, has agreed to be bought by Aermont Capital, through its PW III private equity fund and Bidco, a newly-incorporated company indirectly owned by PW III. The £323.3M ($419M) sale was originally mooted in late July. The companies today announced that Bidco has “satisfied its financing pre-condition and accordingly Bidco and Pinewood have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition.”
Pinewood, whose studios have been home to the James Bond franchise as well as the new Star Wars movies and many other titles under the Disney and Marvel banners, has been looking to go private to fund expansion. The UK has been in a space crunch for the past few years, especially as more Hollywood productions set up shop there and with the introduction of the high end UK TV Tax Credit which has created a boom time for stages.
Flagship Pinewood Studios in South Bucks was granted planning permission to expand after a long process in 2014, and with the sale will be able to motor forward on those and other growth plans.
The group also has operations in Toronto, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic and Atlanta.
Commenting on today’s news, Pinewood Chairman Lord Grade said, “The Board believes that Bidco can provide Pinewood with the platform required for future growth. The Pinewood Group has been transformed in recent years but has been somewhat constrained in realizing its ambitions due to the lack of share liquidity. As a result of the Strategic Review instigated by the Board, Pinewood now has the prospect of a funding structure for the future. The Board is encouraged by the commitment Bidco has already shown to management, to Pinewood’s strategy for growth, and to the future of the iconic Pinewood Studios.
“The Board believes that this transaction provides our shareholders with an attractive offer. Moreover the Board believes that following the transaction, Pinewood and clients will benefit from greater opportunities in the years ahead and the Board intends to recommend the offer unanimously.”