Pinewood Completes Sale to Real Estate Investment Fund


The U.K. studio home of the James Bond franchise and 'Star Wars' is Europe's largest provider of studio space.

The sale of Pinewood Group, the U.K. studio home of the James Bond franchise and Star Wars and Europe's largest provider of studio space, to a real estate investment fund in a deal worth $412 million (£323.3 million) is complete.

Pinewood was sold to Picture Holdco Ltd., an English company indirectly owned by funds managed by Aermont Capital, previously Perella Weinberg Real Estate, an asset manager focused on real estate.

The takeover became effective Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning, Pinewood said its London stock market listing was now canceled. The deal means that Pinewood is now a privately held company.

Management had said that Pinewood needs to go private to fund its plans to expand its main studio facilities based in Buckinghamshire, just outside of London and near Heathrow Airport. It also has facilities in Shepperton, England, Toronto, Atlanta, Malaysia and the Dominican Republic.

The sale had been recommended by Pinewood's two main shareholders, which together owned 65 percent of the company, and its directors.

"We believe that we have found the right partner for the business and one that shares our long-term vision for the future of the group,” CEO Ivan Dunleavy said when the deal was announced. "Pinewood’s continuing commitment to the U.K.’s creative industries remains as strong as ever."

Over the past year-plus, activist U.K. investment fund Crystal Amber, which once owned more than a quarter of Pinewood, pushed for change after again acquiring a stake and saying the company should achieve higher financial returns.

The price tag for Pinewood represented a 31 percent premium over the company's average share price before it announced a strategic review in February. But it came in below the company's closing stock price the day before the deal was announced.