Pinewood Group, the company that owns the iconic Pinewood Studios outside London, announced Thursday it has reached an agreement for a possible sale of its assets after receiving a cash offer of 323.3 million pounds (about $425 million) from Venus Grafton Sarl. The studios have been used for shooting many famous films, including many James Bond titles, some Harry Potter movies and recently, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The 007 stage at Pinewood is among the largest in the world and was built in 1967 for “The Spy Who Loved Me,” which starred Roger Moore as the British spy. Newer Bond films to be shot on the famous set include “Spectre” and “Skyfall.” The same stage was also used to film portions of “Tomb Raider,” which featured Angelina Jolie, and Johnny Depp’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
But the first Bond movie to be filmed at Pinewood was "Dr. No" in 1962, beginning the tradition that led to the studios being referred to as the home of James Bond. Some other famous movies that kept the studios in business through lean patches include Tim Burton’s Batman films and James Cameron’s “Aliens.”
Pinewood opened its first film production facility in the U.S. in 2013, in Fayette County, south of Atlanta in Georgia. The company owns a movie production complex in Malaysia that began operations in 2013. It also owns studios in Canada and the Dominican Republic.
The company had first announced in February it was looking for funding and may consider selling its shares to another investor. Goodweather Investment Mgt. Ltd. and Warren James Holdings Ltd. are the two biggest shareholders of the Pinewood Group, holding 66.19 percent of the company’s shares. Both of them, along with all shareholding board members, have agreed to a sale of their entire stock in case the company decides to accept the offer made by Venus Grafton Sarl, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of PW Real Estate Fund III LP.