European film studios merge

Buyout firm Candover has sold Shepperton Studios to Pinewood for £35m, bringing together two of Europe’s largest film studios.

Candover, the buy-out firm, has sold Shepperton Studios, the film and television studio facilities company, to rival Pinewood Studios for £35m (E54.6m). The sale marks the sixth exit from the Candover 1994 fund.

The Financial Times reports that the deal is being part financed by 3i and Michael Grade, who is leading the management team at Pinewood.

Candover bought Shepperton for £12m in February 1995 in conjunction with film directors Tony and Ridley Scott who have developed it to become one of Europe's leading film and television studio facilities. Shepperton has produced Hollywood films including Top Gun, Bladerunner, Alien and most recently 102 Dalmatians, Shakespeare in Love and The Mummy Returns.

Marek Gumienny, managing director of Candover, said: “During Candover's ownership, Shepperton more than doubled its profits and has been a very successful investment. This deal revolutionises Europe's positioning in the global film production arena, bringing it head to head with its Hollywood counterparts.”

Shepperton employs around 120 people, whilst Pinewood has a staff of about 140. It is believed all jobs are secure.