After announcing yesterday that it has sold Odeon Cinemas to private equity financier Cinven, the UK's Rank group today confirmed the sale of British film studio Pinewood Studios to a consortium headed by former Channel 4 boss Michael Grade for $99m (£62m).
The deal sees Grade become chairman of Pinewood Studios while fellow consortium member Ivan Dunleavy takes up the reins as chief executive.
Dunleavy joins Grade in a management buy-in of the UK facility, led by one of Europe's largest venture capitalist groups 3i and backed by financial powerhouses The Royal Bank Of Scotland and Intermediate Capital Group.
Venture capitalists 3i will take a $33m (£20.6m) majority stake in the venture with the rest of the equity split amongst management.
Current Pinewood managing director Steve Jaggs is part of the management buy-in and will remain at the facility: 'I am delighted to be part of this initiative building an even more exciting future for an independent Pinewood,' said Jaggs.
Pinewood has recently housed several high-profile productions including the latest James Bond picture, The World Is Not Enough, the Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones starrer Entrapment and Quills, starring Kate Winslet.
But plans for the future of the facility under new management are unclear: 'Our ambition is to build on the success and turn Pinewood into a multi-media production centre, offering excellence both to film and television and new media producers,' said Grade.
The deal re-unites Grade with Dunleavy in a management role mirroring the one which saw Grade chairman and Dunleavy chief executive of the UK independent video publishing giant VCI Plc.
Venture capitalists 3i led a $48m (£30m) management buyout of the Startle Group of companies from the Telstar Entertainment Group late last year. Commenting on the Pinewood deal, 3i director Chris Graham said: 'It is rare for the venture capital community to be in a position to buy such a well-known, internationally renowned and prestigious asset which is part of British film history.'
Grade most recently completed a three-year stint as chief executive of UK leisure company First Leisure, was also recently hired by lottery franchise holder the Camelot Group for its bid to retain its franchise. The flamboyant executive also recently tried to take over theatre chain Stoll Moss' central London sites, which were bought by composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.