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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Mark Sweney

Twickenham Studios to go global as APX Group acquires 50% of business

 Twickenham Studios, home to films from The Italian Job to Bohemian Rhapsody.
Twickenham Studios, home to films from The Italian Job to Bohemian Rhapsody. Photograph: Mick Sinclair/Alamy

The owner of Twickenham Studios, home to films from The Italian Job to Bohemian Rhapsody, is to export its famous brand internationally after selling a stake in the historic London-based studio.

Sunny Vohra, the businessman and self-confessed movie lover, stepped in to save the ailing studio in 2012 as industry luminaries including Steven Spielberg, David Cronenberg and Stephen Daldry threw their support behind a campaign to stop the closure of one of the UK’s oldest studios.

Vohra has now sold a 50% stake in the business, which has more recently welcomed films including Belfast, Alien: Covenant and Top Gun: Maverick to APX Group, a US and European fund that has been snapping up media assets on both sides of the Atlantic.

As part of the deal APX, which is planning a flotation on the New York Stock Exchange this year, has agreed to rebrand the international network of studios it is building with the 110-year-old Twickenham Studios brand.

“Twickenham Studios was saved from liquidators and demolition by myself and a group of like-minded film-buffs approximately 10 years ago,” said Vohra, who will remain chairman of the studio. “Now we all look forward towards worldwide expansion and growth between our current management and the APX Group team.”

Earlier this month, Vohra acquired a 6.95% stake in APX Corporation, the parent company of the APX Group Media fund, joining its board and acquisition committee.

The $70m (£58m) deal, which makes him one of APX’s biggest individual shareholders, gives the group a $1.14bn valuation.

Last month, APX signed a deal to invest in Los Angeles-based Next Wave Studios.

The group has also acquired the development slate of production company Burning Wheel including American Tabloid, a drama about the US press co-created by best-selling authors Irvine Welsh and Bret Easton Ellis, and a project being developed with the Bram Stoker Estate.

“Twickenham Film Studios is a cultural institution of film production and as such will be a jewel within our production portfolio,” said Shelley Hammond, global chief executive of the APX Group. “The work completed over the 100-plus years while the studio has been active is seminal. The Twickenham brand is historic, its reputation iconic, and our vision is global.”

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