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Britain's Pinewood Studios owner could be sold

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The group which owns Britain's Pinewood Studios, where the James Bond films are made, could be sold off in a deal that analysts estimated could raise up to US$500 million.

[LONDON] The group which owns Britain's Pinewood Studios, where the James Bond films are made, could be sold off in a deal that analysts estimated could raise up to US$500 million.

Pinewood Group said Wednesday it has appointed the Rothschild investment bank to carry out a review of the business that "could include a sale of the company".

Pinewood owns television and film studios around the world, but the jewel in its crown is the original Pinewood Studios itself.

Harry Potter movies and the latest Star Wars film are among the blockbusters shot at the studios which opened in 1936 west of London.

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The company, whose shares rocketed nearly 18 per cent on the London Stock Exchange after the announcement, has a market capitalisation of £250 million (S$505.5 million).

But analysts quoted by British media said it could have a premium prestige value that could boost the sale price to up to £350 million.

The group wants further funds to continue to expand the business.

Around 80 per cent of the company is owned by three shareholders.

The shareholder register is "tightly held, which has continued to stifle liquidity in the shares and has prevented the company from achieving its aim of obtaining a main market listing", Pinewood Group said in a statement.

Commenting on the strategic review, the group's chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: "We believe Pinewood has the potential to build on the strong performance of the last few years to grow further both in the UK and internationally.

"The board is now looking to identify the best ways to create the appropriate capital structure to allow the company to realise its goals in the best interests of shareholders."

AFP

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