Travers Smith LLP has advised its long-standing client Pinewood Group plc on a fund raise of £30 million through a placing of new ordinary shares with institutional and other investors, which completed on 17 April 2015. In addition, Pinewood has agreed new bank facilities of up to £135 million with Lloyds Bank plc, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, HSBC Bank plc and Barclays Bank plc.
The new proceeds are intended to be used to part fund the first phase of development of the Pinewood Studios Development Framework ("PSDF"). Pinewood is a leading provider of studio and related services to the global screen based industries. However, the studios are now operating at close to full capacity. The PSDF is intended to ultimately double the existing capacity of Pinewood Studios through the addition of approximately 100,000m2 of new facilities, comprising stages, workshops and production offices.
The PSDF will be developed over three phases, each being up to five years in length. Completion of the first phase, which is expected to commence in the first half of 2015 and scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2016, will significantly expand Pinewood's overall capacity to accommodate major feature films, television programmes, commercials and other screen-based productions. It will also enhance Pinewood's position as a leading facility for the global screen-based industries. The total cost of the PSDF is estimated at £200 million, with phases 2 and 3 subject to demand requirements over time. Alongside the placing of new shares, certain existing shareholders, including Peel Holdings, sold shares with an aggregate value of £30 million.
The Travers Smith team, led by head of corporate finance Neal Watson, included finance partner Danny Peel and real estate partner Julian Bass.
N+ 1 Singer Advisory LLP acted as nominated adviser and broker to Pinewood in connection with the placing and were advised by Paul Emmett of Walker Morris LLP.
Travers Smith’s partner Neal Watson commented: "This was a complex transaction, which required a large cross-departmental team from Travers Smith to co-ordinate closely with Pinewood and its other advisers in order to ensure the transaction elements all came together. We were delighted to be able to assist Pinewood Group on this strategically important project and demonstrate Travers Smith's position as one of the leading law firms for this type of work."
Andrew Smith, Executive Director at Pinewood Group, commented:
“The Travers Smith team, led by Neal Watson, deployed their customary cross-practice approach to ensure a smooth and coordinated execution of the deal. We greatly value their contribution to the successful completion of this transaction."
This transaction builds on other transactions on which Travers Smith has advised Pinewood Partnership, including most recently, the acquisition of 50% joint venture interest in Shepperton Studios in October 2014.
Travers Smith’s relationship with Pinewood dates back to 2000 when the firm acted for 3i and management on the buy-out of Pinewood Studios from Rank. In 2004 the firm advised Pinewood on its listing on the Official List of the London Stock Exchange.