Peel increases offer for Pinewood

Peel Group has increased its offer for Pinewood Shepperton which has the backing of the film studios directors and another main shareholder.

Peel said under the terms of the acquisition, each Pinewood shareholder will be entitled to receive 200p in cash for each Pinewood share, valuing the Pinewood Shepperton at £96.1m.

Peel originally made an £87.8m takeover bid at the start of April for the company.

Mohamed Al Fayed, the former owner of Harrods in London, then made an approach to buy the company but directors at Pinewood said in a statement on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning: "This approach is subject to a number of preconditions and as a result the Pinewood independent directors do not believe there can be any certainty that it would lead to an offer being made for the company."

Peel already owns 29.78% of shares in the studios, where films such as Harry Potter and James Bond were made, while Crystal Amber Fund, which owns 28.91% of Pinewood shares, is also committed to the new Peel offer.

John Whittaker, chairman of the Peel Group, said: "Peel believes that the acquisition represents an attractive proposition for the shareholders of Pinewood. Peel is a long-term investor in Pinewood and the wider media sector through its Media City UK investment and looks forward to supporting the Pinewood management in growing its operational business and developing its unique Project Pinewood proposal. Peel represents a long-term strategic partner for Pinewood in continuing to grow and develop the business."

Lord Grade of Yarmouth, chairman of Pinewood, added: "The Pinewood independent directors have recommended this offer to shareholders as it delivers certainty at an attractive premium. In the context of increasing illiquidity in the trading of Pinewood shares, the Pinewood independent directors believe that this stable time in a volatile industry offers shareholders an opportune moment to realise value.

"Peel has been a most supportive shareholder, committed to our strategy and vision for the group. The board is satisfied that the long-term future of these assets, which make such a contribution to the growth of the UK's creative industries, will pass into safe hands.

"For 75 years the names Pinewood and Shepperton have been iconic in the global screen industries. The current management has advanced the business, investing to re-establish it as a world-class centre for all creative industries and expanding internationally with Pinewood representation now in five key regions around the world. We have developed a digital infrastructure to support our UK studios and Pinewood is planning for the next 75 years with innovative schemes such as Project Pinewood."

The new offer will be subject to Pinewood shareholder approval at an annual general meeting of Pinewood being held on Tuesday 31 May.

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