Pinewood gains on bid rumour

SHARES in Pinewood Shepperton yesterday climbed over the initial takeover offer of 190p per share by majority shareholder Peel Holdings, rising 9p to close at 194.5p .

The higher share price follows yesterday’s prediction by a source close to the deal that Peel will be forced to pay between 220p and 225p per share to take control of the film business, of which it holds a 29.7 per cent stake.

Last Friday, Pinewood confirmed it had received an offer of 190p per share from Peel, but declined to make any further comment.

The sole banking adviser on the potential deal is JP Morgan Cazenove, led by Bronson Albery, a director at the firm, who advised on Pinewood’s IPO in 2004.

The takeover bid follows a troubled period for Pinewood, whose second-largest shareholder Crystal Amber last year made a public demand for chairman Michael Grade to step down due to “poor stewardship”.

However, if Pinewood is delisted following a takeover, Grade’s chairmanship will become a “non-issue” when the post comes up for re-election at the end of June, according to an analyst. He said: “If Pinewood moves into new ownership, Michael Grade’s position becomes a matter for the new owner, not the stockmarket.”