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Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 11:50 GMT
Grade buys Pinewood Studios

Michael Grade, the former boss of Channel 4 and BBC1, has purchased the famous Pinewood Studios for 62m.

He led a consortium of investors backed by investment trust 3i which is buyingthe film studio from Rank, the leisure and entertainment group.

The consortium is paying 55.5 in cash and 6.5m in a loan note.

Pinewood was the home of many classic British films, and was built in the l930s by J. Arthur Rank.

In recent years has become the film set used for many famous Hollywood spectaculars - including the James Bond films.

The move will take Mr Grade back into the heart of the British entertainment business after his three years at First Leisure - where his most notable contribution was the sale of Blackpool Tower.

He is the nephew of Lew Grade, a famous film producer in his own right and one of the founders of the ITV network.

He will run the company alongside Ivan Dunleavy, formerly the chief executive of a video production company.

Rank had been seeking a buyer for Pinewood for some years, and on Monday it also sold its cinema chain, Odeon, for 280m.

Pinewood made a profit of 4.4m on turnover of 13.2m.

Rank is using some of the money to buy a DVD processing plant in Los Angeles for 11m. Rank is the leading film and video processor and developer in the UK, and expects DVD to grow rapidly with the spread of cheap DVD players.



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