Europe’s 2 Biggest Movie Studios to Merge

From Reuters

Britain’s Pinewood Studios, famous for James Bond movies, is buying rival Shepperton Studios for $50.55 million, creating a company capable of taking on Hollywood, British newspapers reported today.

The merger of Europe’s two biggest studios will enable the joint company to attract major filmmakers with the biggest budgets. Already, two-thirds of the work undertaken at Pinewood and Shepperton comes from Hollywood.

Shepperton is owned by a consortium that includes film directors Ridley Scott--the director of the new release “Hannibal” and last year’s blockbuster movie “Gladiator,”--his brother Tony and private equity group Candover. The Times of London newspaper said the group bought the studio in 1995 for about $17 million and it has in recent years produced Hollywood hits “102 Dalmatians” and “Shakespeare in Love.”


“The deal revolutionizes Europe’s positioning in the global film production area, bringing it head to head with its Hollywood counterparts,” Candover’s managing director Marek Gumienny told the Guardian.

Pinewood was sold last year by leisure group Rank for $89.3 million and is now run by television’s former Channel 4 boss Michael Grade.

The Scott brothers will be co-chairmen of the merged group, alongside Grade, the Times said, adding that Grade has been courting Shepperton since mid-2000. The deal was thought to have been cleared by the Office of Fair Trading.