Tag: James Bond

Pinewood Studios to be taken private in £323m deal with Aermont Capital

Offer values each Pinewood share at 560p and gives film studio – home of James Bond franchise – funds for expansion plans

Pinewood Studios to be taken private in £323m deal with Aermont Capital
Sean Connery as James Bond and a gold-painted Shirley Eaton being photographed on the set of Goldfinger at Pinewood Studios. Photograph: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Pinewood Studios is to be taken private in a £323m deal as the studio where James Bond is filmed seeks financial firepower for its expansion plans.

The film studio has said it needs to go private to fund ambitious plans to expand the historic complex in Buckingamshire, which opened in the 1930s and went on to shoot long-running series such as the Carry On films and James Bond franchise.

The offer from Aermont Capital, a London-based asset manager, values each Pinewood share at 560p..

Lord Grade, chairman of Pinewood, said the takeover was an attractive offer for investors that would give Pinewood “the platform required for future growth”.

Grade, a former chairman of the BBC and of grocery delivery firm Ocado, added: “The Pinewood Group has been transformed in recent years, but has been somewhat constrained in realising its ambitions due to the lack of share liquidity.”

Shareholders will also get a special dividend of 3.2p per share, making the deal for Pinewood, where the Star Wars series is also made, worth £323.3m.

Pinewood’s directors stand to make a combined £1.82m if they sell their entire holdings, including a £1m windfall for the chief executive, Ivan Dunleavy.

Aermont said on Friday that it had secured financing from Perella Weinberg, the private equity group from which it was spun off and whose real estate funds it now advises.

The price tag is a 31% premium on Pinewood’s average closing share price of 430p in the three weeks before they hired investment bank Rothschild to perform a strategic review signalling a likely sale of the business.

Aermont said 14% shareholder Aviva had joined Goodweather Investment and Warren James Holdings in undertaking to sell their shares, meaning the deal is all but certain to proceed.

Pinewood is listed on the AIM junior stock market and did not have a large enough free float – shares available to buy – to meet requirements to move to the main market, where it would have been able to raise more cash from investors.

Grade said: “Pinewood and clients will benefit from greater opportunities in the years ahead and the board intends to recommend the offer unanimously.”

Léon Bressler, managing partner of Aermont, said Pinewood was “an iconic brand at the heart of the global creative industries”.

Idris Elba on James Bond odds: 'I'm too old for cars and ladies and martinis'

The actor calls his being earmarked for 007 ‘the wildest rumour in the world’ and says he has not been in touch with Sony Pictures

Idris Elba on James Bond odds: 'I'm too old for cars and ladies and martinis'
Peace out … Elba en route to tape Good Morning America this week. Photograph: Everett/Rex Shutterstock

The actor Idris Elba has again downplayed his chances of donning the tuxedo of British super-spy James Bond.

Speaking to the TV show Good Morning America, Elba, 43, cited his age as the key reason he felt he wasn’t a contender. “I think I’m too old for that – running around in cars and ladies and martinis,” he said.

“Who wants to do that?” Elba continued with a smile. “Sounds terrible.”

The actor said he’d had no discussions with Sony Pictures about taking over the role from Daniel Craig, who has not officially retired as Bond, but had been struck by the level of public support. “[It’s] the wildest rumour in the world,” said Elba. “I keep saying if it were to happen it would be the will of a nation, because there hasn’t been any talks between me and the studio about any of that. But everywhere I go people want that to happen.”

Elba’s chief competition is still reckoned to be fellow Brit Tom Hiddleston, with TV graduates Aidan Turner and James Norton also tipped for the role. All are about a decade younger than Elba.

The average age of an actor making their debut as Bond is just over 40 years old. David Niven was 57 when he made his one and only appearance in the role in 1967’s Casino Royale; Roger Moore was that age for his last Bond outing in 1985’s A View to a Kill.

  • This article was amended on 22 July 2016. The original got Bond wrong by confusing Sean Connery with Roger Moore. This has been corrected.

Emilia Clarke nominates herself as a Jane Bond contender (and DiCaprio as a 'Bond boy')

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke says playing a gender-swapped version of the 007 agent is an ‘unrealised dream’ and says DiCaprio would be her ‘ultimate leading man’

Emilia Clarke nominates herself as a Jane Bond contender (and DiCaprio as a 'Bond boy')
Actor Emilia Clarke has raised her hand to become the next Jane Bond. Photograph: Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has thrown her name into the ring to play a female version of 007.

In an interview with the UK’s Daily Star, Clarke said, “I have a lot of unrealised dreams. I would love to play Jane Bond. My ultimate leading man would be Leonardo DiCaprio. No doubt about it.”

Clarke made the comments while promoting her drama Me Before You, the 29-year-old’s first major leading romantic role.

The self-nomination comes on the heels of The X-Files star Gillian Anderson retweeting a fan made poster casting her as the next 007 agent along with the words: “It’s Bond, Jane Bond.”

Not everyone is interested in a gender swapped version of Bond. The Guardian’s film editor, Catherine Shoard, said in an editorial that the campaign to make Bond female “sits oddly” with a vision of a world in which women leaders effect progress by adopting an approach not previously applied. “Shouldn’t we be cooking up new heroines, rather than just sticking old ones in a frock?”

But among fans speculation over who will nab the coveted role from the current Bond actor, Daniel Craig, remains rife. At this point it is hard to find a British actor of a certain vintage who hasn’t been mentioned, with Tom Hiddleston, Aidan Turner, Idris Elba, Damian Lewis and Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell all having their names tossed around by both fans and film industry pundits.

The franchise’s outgoing director, Sam Mendes, recently told audiences at the UK’s Hay festival that the decision lay in the hands of producer Barbara Broccoli and that the final choice “will not be what you expect”.

“There’s this constant debate about who’s going to be the next Bond,” he said. “The truth is – and here’s the headline – it’s not a democracy. It’s not the X Factor, it’s not the EU referendum, it’s not a public vote.”

Bookmakers recently suspended betting on Hiddleston landing the gig after reports he was seen meeting with Mendes and Broccoli in London.

The most unexpected person to play Bond may be Craig himself who – while not exactly sounding keen on it (at one point he said he would rather slash his wrists) – has not actually ruled out returning to the role.

Next James Bond will not be who you expect, Sam Mendes says

Outgoing director’s remarks suggest Tom Hiddleston not a shoo-in for the part of 007

Next James Bond will not be who you expect, Sam Mendes says
Tom Hiddleston has been the favourite to take over from Daniel Craig as Bond. Photograph: Des Willie/BBC/The Ink Factory

The actor chosen to play the next James Bond will be an unexpected candidate, the franchise’s outgoing director has said, suggesting favourite Tom Hiddleston may not land the 007 role.

The British film-maker Sam Mendes said the choice for the next star of the hugely successful franchise lies solely with producer Barbara Broccoli. He also confirmed he will not be returning to direct the next film, saying he is ready to work on something new, the Telegraph reported.

Speaking at the Hay festival, Mendes, who directed Skyfall and Spectre, said: “I’m a storyteller and at the end of the day I want to make stories with new characters.”

He said he had loved the “incredible adventure” of working on Bond, but that he thought it was “time for somebody else to do a great job”.

Speculation is rife as to which actor will next step into the spy’s impeccably polished shoes to replace Daniel Craig 10 years after he first took the helm with Casino Royale. Tom Hiddleston, Aidan Turner, Idris Elba, Damian Lewis and most recently Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell have all been touted as possible 007s.

Bookmakers recently suspended betting on Hiddleston landing the gig, after the star of the BBC’s hit series The Night Manager was pictured meeting with executives linked to the Bond franchise.

Mendes said the director and lead role were likely to be unexpected. “I can guarantee whatever happens with it, it will not be what you expect. That’s what she [Broccoli] has been brilliant at, and that’s how it’ll survive.”

Daniel Craig ‘is DONE playing James Bond

Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig

JUST days after bookmakers stopped bets on Tom Hiddleston becoming the next James Bond, Daniel Craig has reportedly told studio bosses he is “done” playing 007.

The actor, who has played the secret agent since 2005, has allegedly earned a total of £38million for the four films he has starred in.

However, insiders now say the 48-year-old has turned down a £68million offer from MGM to return for two more films.

An unnamed LA source told the Daily Mail: “Daniel is done – pure and simple – he told top brass at MGM after Spectre.

“They threw huge amounts of money at him, but it just wasn’t what he wanted.”

They continued: “He had told people after shooting that this would be his final outing, but the film company still felt he could come around after Spectre if he was offered a money deal.”

However, another source told the publication that film executives agreed to let the actor leave after they grew tired of his criticism of the franchise.

Last year Daniel told interviewers he would “rather slash my wrists” than appear in another film.

Rumours of Daniel Craig departure

from the franchise come just days after it was reported bookmakers had suspended betting on Tom Hiddleston becoming the next 007.
Liam Glynn, a representative for Irish bookmakers BoyleSports, said in a press release: “Judging by the gamble on Tom Hiddleston we expect that it’s only a matter of days before he is announced as Daniel Craig’s replacement.”

Speculation that the Night Manager star could become the next Bond began after he appeared in the BBC drama.

Earlier this month, the 35-year-old denied he was in talks to play the spy when he appeared on The Graham Norton Show.

He told the host: “I promise, no one’s talked to me about it.”