Studio shares fetch top dollar, hit the market May 12
LONDON — The flotation of UK film studio Pinewood Shepperton, best known as the home of the James Bond franchise, has raised £46.2m ($81.6m). Shares went like hot cakes at 180p each, the top of the indicated price range.
27.7m new shares were sold in the offer and existing shareholders sold 13.9m. The shares sold represent 91.1% of the enlarged share capital of the company. Pinewood bows on the London Stock Exchange for unconditional trading May 12 under the stock symbol PWS.
Michael Grade, Chairman of Pinewood Shepperton commented “We are delighted with the response from investors. Pinewood Shepperton is a household name in the film and television industry and we look forward to developing our reputation as a public company.” Along with the other directors, Grade has retained his shares.
Grade takes up his new post as BBC Chairman on May 17, and has come in for criticism for possible conflict of interest. Hit BBC TV quizzer “The Weakest Link” is filmed at Pinewood and rival studio chiefs argue that Grade’s new role will see a disproportionate slice of the pubcaster’s bizz sent Pinewood’s way.Grade’s BBC appointment was announced days after Pinewood’s flotation was confirmed and he has been urged to sell his 4% stake in the studio. The BBC was quick to deny any potential problems. A spokesmen revealing “Mr Grade will disclose all his interests to the BBC Secretary before he takes his post “and a system will be put in place to ensure any conflict, whether real or perceived, will not take place.”
Chief Executive Ian Dunleavy revealed the logic behind the flotation,” This offering has given us the appropriate capital structure to grow our business and we look forward to our future with confidence.” Pinewood’s future investment will focus on the main studios, which boast 36 stages and provide facilities for over 200 media businesses. Pinewood boasts a market value of £82.5m from the sale.