Geldof company leases Limehouse

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The Independent Online
BOB GELDOF's independent production company, Planet 24, has saved from mothballing the Limehouse Studios, a subsidiary of Trilion, the USM-quoted television facilities group that collapsed into receivership last December. The terms have not been revealed.

Planet 24 has taken out a lease on the studios, one of only three independent filming facilities in London and home to programmes such as Have I Got News For You, Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Word.

'Our main reason for doing this is to protect the studios for independent programme makers,' Waheed Alli, managing director of Planet 24, said. 'Their technical reputation is very, very good. We want to keep them open, not see them closed and then sold off to property developers.'

He said that studio space, already at a premium, had become more expensive since Trilion's demise. Existing quotes given by Limehouse Studios would still be honoured by its new management. The studios' technical management staff have kept their jobs.

'We hope at least to break even but we don't think we'll make vast sums of money. It's a good way for us to find out what it's like running a studio before having to buy one.'

Planet 24, responsible for the Big Breakfast, Channel 4's new breakfast television show, has taken on the licence to manage the studios for at least four months, but expects it to be an 'ongoing arrangement'.

Price Waterhouse, the administrative receiver, hopes to sell the studios as a going concern along with Cheerleader Productions, the television sports company that created cult series on American football and sumo wrestling.

Trilion lost pounds 1.48m in the six months to 31 March 1992. Its debts amounted to pounds 5.2m and high interest rates, poor revenues and high costs contributed to its collapse. Its shares were suspended at 3p. Its shareholders, which include the Daily Mail and General Trust and Invesco MIM, are expected to receive little from the receivership.