'Takeover will kill studios' - Piers Read, boss of Wimbledon Studios, resigns in row over multi-million pound takeover

Piers Reed who has resigned from Wimbledon Studios today

Piers Reed who has resigned from Wimbledon Studios today

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Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter - Wimbledon

The boss of Wimbledon Studios has resigned today in the latest twist as part of an ongoing debate about a multi-million pound takeover of the business.

The announcement today that Piers Read, founder and managing director of the studios in Deer Park Road, Wimbledon, is leaving with immediate effect comes after months of negotiations with potential investors.

He said a planned takeover would ‘kill’ the studios and his position has become untenable.

A statement from Mr Read said he has been working to secure the investment and funding needed for an ambitious expansion.

David Smith, company secretary and financial controller has also resigned and will be leaving.

The spokesperson said: “Despite Mr Read having secured funding from multiple interested parties, parent company Panther Securities PLC has resisted making a decision on his £10m offer for the freehold, leaving the future of the studios still in doubt and his position untenable.”

The news follows months of negotiations with potential investors for the internationally recognised studios to fund a £6m refurbishment and upgrade of the facilities which played host to dozens of television and film projects over the years.

In a statement today, Mr Read said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together in establishing Wimbledon as a leading studio facility in the UK, but we feel that our position has become increasingly untenable in recent months.

“We fundamentally disagree with the direction our parent company and freeholder, Panther PLC wishes to proceed.

“We believe this direction will kill Wimbledon Studios as it is known today, and we have no desire to be party to that.

“We feel this not only undervalues the work and success that has been achieved by the staff over recent years, but also fails to take advantage of the huge opportunities that currently exist.

“With studio space in London now at a premium, following the closure of a number of our closest competitors, the UK TV and film industry is in desperate need of exactly the type of facilities that Wimbledon could offer.”

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