A high-street jeweller has introduced a twist in the tale of a takeover bid for Pinewood Shepperton.
Warren James Holdings, which owns a 115-strong chain of jewellers, is understood to have acquired a 15% stake in Pinewood, potentially threatening property firm Peel Holdings’ plans to take full control of the business.
Peel, run by property developer John Whittaker, agreed a 200p-a-share takeover of Pinewood in April, valuing the film studio at £96.1 million.
Peel, which also owns the new Salford Quays media development, said today it had secured acceptances from shareholders owning 63.3% of the company. It needs more than 75% in order to take the firm off the stock market.
The company has not released a statement to explain its intentions, but it could be trying to force a higher offer from Peel or acting on a belief that a rival suitor could enter the frame.
Peel’s bid previously won the support of activist shareholder Crystal Amber, which owns around 28.9% of Pinewood and has been critical of the company’s board leadership in recent years.
Its backing for the Peel bid can only be dislodged if a new bidder comes in with a proposal worth not less than 250p a share.
Mohammed Fayed, the former owner of Harrods, contacted Pinewood’s board about a potential 250p a share bid in April but later withdrew his interest.
Pinewood is planning an ambitious £20 million Project Pinewood expansion at its studios in Buckinghamshire that will see it build new facilities and sets on a par with those found in Hollywood.
Peel previously said it expected Pinewood to operate independently of its own media assets, which include the new home for the BBC, ITV, Coronation Street and the University of Salford at the MediaCityUK development at Salford Quays.