LONDON (Reuters) - The owner of Britain’s Pinewood Studios, home of the world’s most famous fictional special agent James Bond, is set to be sold to a real estate fund for 323 million pound ($423 million), it said on Thursday.
Synonymous for many Britons with the heyday of British cinema, Pinewood’s first four studios were built in the 1930s at its site west of London and the company has since grown with facilities in the United States, Canada, Malaysia and the Dominican Republic
The 007 stage at Pinewood, one of the largest in Europe, was first built for the 1976 Bond movie “The Spy Who Loved Me” and has been used by numerous films since including “The Da Vinci Code” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider”.
Pinewood Group <PWS.L, which said in February it was seeking a takeover to boost shareholder value and help it grow, said on Thursday it would recommend shareholders accept the offer from PW Real Estate Fund.
Pinewood shareholders will receive 560 pence in cash for each share plus a final dividend of 3.2 per share. Its shares were down 5 percent at 552p by 0928 GMT.
As a result of a failed takeover attempt in 2011, Pinewood’s biggest shareholder Peel Group owns 39 percent and Warren James Holdings has 26 percent, Reuters data showed. Pinewood said both had accepted the offer.
As well as its 20 stages at Pinewood, the group also boasts underwater filming facilities, television and film post-production and editing and recording services for the computer games industry.
To many older Britons, Pinewood achieved fame in the 1950s and 1960s for being home to the long-running “Carry On” comedy films and Norman Wisdom comedies.
Investment bank Rothschild advised Pinewood on the deal.
Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by David Holmes