The owner of MediaCityUK has made a £96.1 million bid to take total control of the Pinewood Studios group, writes Kevin Hilton. Peel Group already owns 29.7 percent of the media company, which includes the sound stages and audio and video post-production departments at Shepperton and Teddington studios as well as Pinewood, and is keen to take a majority share. Peel subsidiary Peel Media is developing the MediaCityUK site in Salford, Greater Manchester, which is beginning to go into full operations. The first live TV broadcast from there, BBC News School Report, was made on 24th March, and programmes produced in the MediaCityUK studios are already on air. BBC departments including Sport and Radio Five Live are due to move to Salford this spring. A new company, Peel Acquisitions (Pegasus), has been formed to oversee the acquisition. The formal offer states that "each Pinewood Shareholder will be entitled to receive 200 pence in cash per Pinewood Share", plus a 2.5p dividend. This improves on the original deal of 190p a share plus the dividend. Peel revised an initial approach of £88 million after the former Harrods owner, Mohammed Fayed, revealed his was considering making an all cash offer for Pinewood. The chairman of Pinewood, Lord Grade of Yarmouth, commented, "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." Recent TV productions at Pinewood have included Sing If You Can, Would I Lie to You, the drama The Reckoning and live celebrity challenge show Dancing on Ice. www.pinewoodgroup.com
Peel secures controlling interest in Pinewood
The Peel Group, owners of MediaCityUK, has taken a majority shareholding in Pinewood Shepperton, writes Kevin Hilton. Peel Acquisitions (Pegasus), the company formed to oversee buying the film and TV studios group, has bought shares that give its parent company a 71.1 percent stake in Pinewood.