A Consortium Led by Sir Len Blavatnik and Matthew Vaughn Offers £16m to Buy BBC’s Maida Vale Studios
A consortium led by Warner Music Group shareholder Sir Len Blavatnik and Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn has submitted a bid of £16m to purchase the historic Maida Vale Studios in London, according to sources. The group, which also includes billionaire investor Sir Len Blavatnik, UK property company William Pears, and Hollywood film producer Matthew Vaughn, has offered a significantly higher amount than the reported £10m that the BBC had agreed to sell the venue for in June.
Maida Vale Studios, known for hosting iconic artists such as The Beatles and David Bowie, has attracted interest from various parties. The buyer is rumored to be Hans Zimmer, the renowned German composer known for his work on films like Gladiator and The Lion King. An official announcement from the BBC regarding the deal with Zimmer is expected later this month. The financial details of Zimmer’s proposal have not been disclosed, and the BBC has refrained from commenting on the value of his offer or the possibility of other higher bids.
In 2018, the BBC announced its plans to relocate to new purpose-built studios in east London by the mid-2020s. However, the consortium led by Matthew Vaughn aims to preserve Maida Vale as a recording studio and invest in post-production facilities for film, television, and gaming. Additionally, the group intends to provide community access to the site, recognizing the public’s interest in a venue with a rich history dating back to its days as a roller-skating palace before its conversion into recording studios in 1933.
Maida Vale Studios, consisting of seven sound studios, has been home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra and has hosted performances by legendary artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Beyoncé. The consortium’s offer included a two-week exchange period with limited conditions. Members of the consortium, including Matthew Vaughn, have connections to the BBC through Danny Cohen, the former director of television who now heads Access Entertainment, a division of Sir Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.
Some industry insiders have raised concerns about the transparency of the BBC’s handling of the sale process. However, the BBC spokesperson declined to comment on rival offers for Maida Vale Studios, and it remains unclear whether the sale price will be disclosed at the time of the deal’s signing.
The sale of Maida Vale Studios comes at a time when the BBC is facing criticism for its handling of complaints regarding newsreader Huw Edwards’ behavior and its reporting of Coutts’ decision to bar Nigel Farage as a client.
None of the parties involved in the Vaughn-Blavatnik bid have provided any comments on the matter.