AXA IM has exchanged contracts for the acquisition of the BBC Elstree Centre in North West London, with the acquisition due to complete in early 2025.
As part of the transaction, AXA IM Alts will lease part of the studio campus back to the BBC for 25 years. The acquisition will represent AXA IM Alts’ first investment into the UK’s TV and film studio market.
With €184bn of assets under management, the transaction follows AXA IM Alts’ acquisition of the Bry-sur-Marne studios in greater Paris in June 2023, which includes one of France’s largest film and TV series studios.
The 16-acre Elstree campus comprises seven stages and currently includes workshop, office and post production facilities. According to AXA, these facilities present an opportunity for brownfield redevelopment to deliver a best-in-class new studio campus. Oxygen Studios advised on the acquisition and will act as development and operating partner.
BBC Elstree Centre was the first of several such complexes in the local area, which are collectively known as ‘Elstree Studios’, having originally been created as a film studio for Neptune Films in 1914. It has had numerous owners during its life and was converted for use as a television studio in 1960. The site was sold to the UK national broadcaster in 1984 as the production base and set for its new soap opera EastEnders, which is still filmed there today and is one of the UK’s longest running television shows.
John O’Driscoll, Global Co-Head of Real Estate at AXA IM Alts, said: “With the signing of BBC Elstree Centre we will be acquiring one of the oldest working TV and film studios in the UK, with a history dating back almost 110 years. The structure of the transaction allows the BBC to continue its production on the site for at least another 25 years, while providing us with the opportunity to invest in the site to create new world class studios. The whole area has a long and illustrious history of producing some of the world’s most celebrated films and television series and, under our stewardship, we aim to continue that legacy.
“The TV & film studios sector remains one of our conviction asset classes, being underpinned by increasing demand from an ever-broader array of production houses, content creators and broadcasters. This is coupled with very limited supply of high-quality modern film and production space, particularly in and around London where new construction is hindered by a lack of available land in the right locations.”