Pinewood Studios owner mulls sale with strategic review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, starring Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, was made at Pinewood. Picture: David James/Lucasfilm
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, starring Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, was made at Pinewood. Picture: David James/Lucasfilm
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The owner of Pinewood Studios – home to the James Bond and Star Wars films – could be sold as the company looks to “maximise value” for shareholders.

Pinewood Group said it has appointed the Rothschild investment bank to carry out a strategic review of the business that “could include a sale of the company”, which has a market value of £258 million.

The group, which also includes Shepperton Studios, has made more than 2,000 films and 800 TV shows over the last 80 years.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, one of the biggest grossing films of all time, was made there as was last year’s 24th official Bond film, Spectre.

READ MORE: Four Scots who helped shape the Star Wars universe

Last April, the group completed a £30m placing to build five new sound stages at Pinewood, due to be completed in June. But it wants further funds to continue to expand the business and reward existing investors, which include insurer Aviva.

Chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: “We believe Pinewood has the potential to build on the strong performance of the last few years to grow further both in the UK and internationally.

“The board is now looking to identify the best ways to create the appropriate capital structure to allow the company to realise its goals in the best interests of shareholders.”

The group said its current shareholder register is “tightly held” which has “stifled liquidity in the shares” and prevented the firm from achieving its aim of obtaining a main stock market listing.

Pinewood Group added in a trading update that, due to strong performances from its TV and production units, full-year expectations are higher than at the time of interim results in December.

The group has been chaired for the last six years by Lord Grade, who is a former BBC and ITV chairman.