U.K.-U.S. Joint Venture to Develop Atlanta Studio Facility

Britain's Pinewood Shepperton, the studio giant known as the home of the "James Bond" franchise, will own 40 percent of the venture behind the production hub.

LONDON - U.K. studio facilities giant Pinewood Shepperton, best known as the home of the James Bond franchise, has struck a joint venture agreement with a local family trust to develop a production hub south of Atlanta.

The venture with the trust of the Cathy family will be named Pinewood Atlanta and develop 288 acres of land into what the partners said would be "world-class studio facilities for the production of film, television, music and video games."

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The land and studio construction costs will be funded by the trust, River's Rock, and a bank debt facility. Pinewood will have a 40 percent stake in the joint venture and provide sales and marketing services. Further financials weren't disclosed.

"Pinewood Atlanta will allow producers access to attractive fiscal incentives from the state of Georgia, within a conveniently located, secure hub," the partners said. Construction is expected to commence immediately.

"Today's agreement is another step forward for the Pinewood brand internationally," said Pinewood CEO Ivan Dunleavy. "This new studio will target U.S. productions. Georgia has excellent fiscal incentives and a great crew base. With River's Rock we have a well-resourced partner that is committed to building a first-class studio facility."

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Pinewood also recently reached a joint venture deal with Chinese media group Seven Stars Media that will look to take advantage of opportunities in the fast-growing Chinese market. The venture, dubbed "Song Lin," will assess "a number of business proposals in the growing entertainment market in China," the partners said.

Pinewood is also a partner in a studio in the Dominican Republic, along with a new $120 million studio facility in Malaysia, which is set to launch in May. 

Said Jim Pace, managing partner at River's Rock: "We are tremendously excited to be creating a world-class studio in the state of Georgia and are looking forward to working with Pinewood in the many years to come. The Pinewood brand is so well recognized in the global film industry, and together there is a great opportunity to build an excellent facility that will attract the very best producers."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai