REAL ESTATE - A 50/50 joint venture between Morley Fund Management and Pinewood Shepperton has acquired the 999-year lease on Shepperton film studios outside London.

Morley paid £10.5m cash towards the Shepperton Studio Property Partnership (SSPP). It also provided a long-term loan of £20m, 50% of it to be consolidated by Pinewood, which will lease back the building.

The main studio represents secure income for the partnership. An additional raft of separate buildings house support industries, described by Morley fund manager Mike Luscombe as “people who make prosthetic limbs and carpenters”. These businesses will be third-party tenants.

The studio firm has already gained planning consent for further development of the building.

“The studio has evolved since the 1930s,” said Luscombe. “It has plenty of potential. We could build swanky new buildings.”

Among them will be the re-development in 2006 of I Block– 75% funded by Morley – and the John Mills Building in 2007.

Luscombe claimed the deal represented more than an addition to its real estate portfolio.

“We’re buying into Shepperton’s skills in terms of managing the tenant space,” said Luscombe. “It’s a motivational thing. We want the studio to do well. It isn’t just a real estate venture,” he added.

The acquisition is Morley’s first of a film studio. However, the deal is likely to be a one-off, not least because film studios rarely appear on the market.