Pinewood Shepperton back £96m takeover offer
Pinewood Shepperton, the owner of film studios used for the James Bond and Harry Potter movies, gave its backing today to an improved £96 million takeover offer from the owner of the new Salford Quays media development.
Property and infrastructure firm Peel Holdings already owns almost 30% of Pinewood and has increased its offer by around £8 million in the face of rival takeover interest from former Harrods owner Mohamed al Fayed.
The board of Pinewood, led by former ITV chairman Michael Grade, said Peel had been a supportive shareholder and the takeover proposal provided the business with the long-term stability it needed.
The 75-year-old business is planning an ambitious £20 million Project Pinewood expansion at its studios in Buckinghamshire that will see it build new facilities and sets on a par with those found in Hollywood.
Its television studios have shot Dancing On Ice, Dragons' Den, BBC sitcom My Family, Piers Morgan's Life Stories and entertainment show Ant & Dec's Push The Button.
Peel said it expected Pinewood to operate independently of its own media assets, which include the new home for the BBC, ITV, Coronation Street and the University of Salford at the MediaCityUK development at Salford Quays.
The group invests in infrastructure, transport and real estate in the UK and has nearly £6 billion of assets. It recently sold the Trafford Centre to Capital Shopping Centres for £1.6 billion and is chaired by billionaire investor John Whittaker.
Mr Whittaker said: "Peel represents a long-term strategic partner for Pinewood in continuing to grow and develop the business."
Peel's bid has won the support of activist shareholder Crystal Amber, which owns around 28.9% of Pinewood and has been critical of the company's board leadership in recent years.
Its backing for the Peel bid can only be dislodged if a new bidder comes in with a proposal worth not less than 250p a share.
Mr Fayed, who co-funded the Oscar-winning film Chariots Of Fire in 1981, last week revealed his interest in a possible bid for the firm.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
National archives: Edward VIII’s phone calls - and how MI5 bugged them
World news in pictures
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 1 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 2 Mothers' diets may harm IQs in two-thirds of babies
- 3 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
- 4 Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.