Pinewood Shepperton Studios is in talks to buy into central London audio facility Whitfield Street Studios.
Pinewood Shepperton Studios is in talks to buy into central London audio facility Whitfield Street Studios.

Industry sources have confirmed that representatives of the famous film and television studios are among a number of interested parties talking to the owner of Whitfield Street Studios to buy either a full or partial share of the recording studios. It's believed that the owner, record producer Robin Millar, is hoping for a figure close to£1m in exchange for an equity stake.

Whitfield Street's general manager, David Anderson, told Broadcast: "We're currently talking to a few people but there are no concrete plans at the moment." He added that dealings were to be concluded as soon as possible so incoming funds could be used to boost audio facilities this summer.

The formerly Sony-run studios were taken over by Millar last February. It was reported that Millar would be investing£4m in the site to develop its TV and film editing services but that plan has yet to be realised. Whitfield produces around£2m of business a year, a figure that Anderson expects to "expand considerably over the next five years".

Pinewood is currently expanding its television facilities, as reported by Broadcastlast year (2.9.04). Plans include increasing the studios and facilities by 50% over the next 10 years.

Television productions filmed at Pinewood include BBC entertainment's Weakest Link, Celador's All About Meand DLT Entertainment's My Family.

Whitfield Street Studios leases the W1 site so any deal would not include the freehold of the central London location, but it could give Pinewood a significant foothold in the Soho market.

An industry analyst said: "Whitfield Studios won't work as just music studios. It needs to embrace other parts of the audio industry."

Pinewood Shepperton was unavailable for comment.

  • Hedge fund Lansdowne Partners last month increased its holdings in Pinewood Shepperton by 500,000 shares and now holds just over 8.2% of the£99m company. The studios floated on the stock market in May 2004 and Pinewood Shepperton is due to announce its preliminary annual results later this month.