Warner buys Harry Potter studios

Warner Brothers announced yesterday that it had bought the British studios where the Harry Potter franchise was filmed, raising hopes of a resurgence in home-grown cinema.

The company has ambitious plans to expand Leavesden Studios, located near Watford, investing £100m and hiring 1,800 new staff. It said that it hoped they will be "probably the most technologically state-of-the-art studios in Europe", when they open in 2012. The sprawling 170-acre site will be able to host the production of two full-scale films simultaneously.

Former Harry Potter sets will be converted into a theme park for fans. The investment represents a boost for the British film industry.