Wimbledon Studios has gone into administration.
Property firm Panther Securities PLC, which holds a 25% stake in Wimbledon Studios and also owns the freehold of the Wimbledon Studios site, said it had opted to put the studio into administration rather than “forced liquidation” to help businesses based at the facility’s media village.
In a trading update, Panther said it had lost “significant funds on its corporate investment and loans to Wimbledon Studios”.
It follows last week’s resignation by Wimbledon Studios managing director Piers Read, who quit following an investment row with Panther.
Earlier this week, Hat Trick Productions started filming the fourth series of Episodes at the south London facility.
Broadcast understands that the Matt LeBlanc-fronted show will be able to complete its scheduled production at Wimbledon before it moves to Los Angeles where it will finish shooting the series.
As well as two 8,000 sq ft studios and standing sets, Wimbledon Studios is home to some 40 small businesses, many of which provide ancillary services to the TV and film industries.
They now face the prospect of having to find new offices. According to the Wimbledon Guardian, the Media Village could remain open until September 24.
In a statement, Panther said that as a “long-term supporter of small businesses” it had “a moral duty to smaller businesses and, as such, is prepared to support a slower close down process via administration rather than a forced liquidation, which would result in lower costs to Panther.
“This slower close down will give the many small businesses in the media village time to prepare and find alternative premises.”
Tenants of the media village have confirmed to Broadcast that they are still able to access their offices, but the on-site coffee shop has been padlocked.
Panther said it originally invested £150,000 for its share of Wimbledon Studios and that it had provided a loan of £622,000, which it said had been fully drawn down.
It also said that as landlord it had “assisted the Wimbledon Studios business by not collecting rent and lease payments for fixtures” and that it is owed £1.6m in rent.
With the board of Panther deciding against taking on additional funding, Panther chairman Andrew Perloff personally loaned £250,000 to Wimbledon Studios.
Panther is now looking into “other options” for the site, including offers from two unnamed interested parties.
Former financial controller David Smith, who resigned with Read, has since taken on the role of director of the company.
Panther said Smith would “assist the trading business close down in the least harmful manner”.
The statement continued: “This has shown true loyalty to the various affected parties including the media village and studio employees, considering the sudden resignation of the previous managing director.”