Investment company ups stake to 71%
Brit real estate, transport and infrastructure investment company Peel Holdings has completed its takeover of Pinewood-Shepperton, upping its ownership to 71.1% of the stock in the studios.Deal, which closed at the end of last week, saw Peel increase its Pinewood stock from 13,766,500 shares to 33,574,818. The stake is insufficient, however, to permit the Manchester, U.K.-based outfit, chaired by billionaire property developer John Whittaker, to delist the company from the London Stock Exchange and go private. That would require 75% of Pinewood ownership. Last month, the Office of Fair Trading confirmed that it would not refer the acquisition to the U.K. Competition Commission, thus opening up the way for Peel to take over the studios group. Peel agreed to a 200 pence ($3.19) a share takeover offer of Pinewood in April, valuing the home of James Bond at $153.5 million. Its original offer sat at 190 pence ($3.03) per share, but the property firm, which previously owned 29% of Pinewood, improved its offer after former Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed showed interest in the studio, offering a possible 210 pence ($3.35) per share. Al Fayed backed out of the race after Peel was unwilling to sell its stake in the company. Last month, U.K. jeweler Warren James Holding acquired a 15% stake in Pinewood. Warren James, which said it had no intention of making an offer for the company, was said to have increased its stake in order to stay on the register and remain a minority shareholder. While the jeweler cannot block a deal, the fate of its stake is likely to determine whether Pinewood remains a public company.