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Specialized film equipment rental company Alpha Grip, based near Shepperton Studios, has been sold to William F. White International and its U.K. parent Sunbelt Rentals.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition builds on WFW’s partnerships in the British market, where the Canadian company already has Movietech, PKE Lighting and Media Access Solutions under its umbrella.
Launched in 2004 and based near Shepperton Studios, Alpha Grip offers a range of grip equipment — including a notable range of telescopic and modular camera cranes, stabilized and non-stabilized remote heads and specialist vehicles — to local and foreign producers shooting in the UK.
The deal gets WFW nearer to Shepperton Studios, where Amazon’s Prime Video, which is already bringing one of the biggest TV shows in history to British shores with the second season of its Lord of the Rings prequel, has signed a major exclusive lease at one of Britain’s best-known studios.
The result is allowing WFW and parent Sunbelt Rentals to get deeper into a U.K. market as it becomes as much a key battleground in the ongoing streaming wars for the production of originals as is Canada.
Alpha Grip owner John Tadros will remain with the company as it continues within the WFW and Sunbelt Rentals orbit.
The Alpha Grip deal also allows WFW to continue building scale as a full service equipment rental player in Canada and the U.K. – with a continuing eye on the U.S. market – as competition heats up and studio suppliers look to exclusively offer production equipment rentals to filmmakers on their stages.
WFW’s portfolio of office and studio properties totals around 1.5 million square feet in the Canadian market alone.
Earlier this week, the Canadian company acquired Studio City Toronto, an iconic studio complex in the city’s downtown east end, as part of a deal that included its equipment rental business.
With Hollywood in need of cost-effective programming as the streamers begin to tighten their belts, the Canadian film studio sector has seen increasing consolidation as the major Hollywood studios and streamers chase premium studio space and generous currency and tax credit savings north of the border.
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