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Hackman, Square Mile head to Scotland for latest studio acquisition

Hackman Capital Partners and partner Square Mile Capital Management, announced the purchase of Wardpark Film and Television Studios, Scotland’s preeminent studio campus, located in Cumbernauld, Scotland.

The transaction is the latest addition to a portfolio of the studio assets owned by the partners, in addition to their studio operating and services affiliate, The MBS Group, a leader in studio services, equipment and technology. 

The Wardpark staff will remain unchanged.

The largest and only full-service studio in Scotland, Wardpark is centrally-located, approximately 20 minutes by car to either Glasgow or Edinburgh. The 14-acre campus offers approximately 200,000 s/f of studio space, including five sound stages, production offices, workshops, an external green screen area and ample parking. The studio is currently home to the sixth season of the hit TV series Outlander, produced by Sony Pictures Television and Left Bank Pictures for Starz. All previous seasons have also been filmed at the campus.

“We’re thrilled to be adding Wardpark Film and Television Studios to our distinguished portfolio and excited to be entering the Scottish production market,” said Michael Hackman, Founder and CEO of Hackman Capital Partners. “Wardpark has been a strong catalyst for growth in the country’s creative sector, and Scotland has become an important filming destination for international content creators, thanks in part to its lush landscape and scenery and competitive tax credits, as well as its top talent pool.”

Square Mile Capital CEO Craig Solomon added, “This acquisition of Wardpark Studios will prove to be a great addition to our partnership’s ownership and operating  platform of world-class studio properties. We look forward to participating in, and contributing to the further growth of the Scottish entertainment industry, as the global demand for high-quality film and TV content shows no sign of slowing.”

Chairman and CEO of Wardpark Studios, Terry Thomson, said, “The creation of Wardpark Studios from a dormant industrial property to a best-in-class studio was not the work of one man, and I’d like to recognise the assistance of Left Bank Pictures; David Brown, my mentor and Producer of the first five seasons of Outlander; David Hodgkinson and the team at HKSD; and the support and encouragement of Isabel Davis of Creative Scotland. We are delighted to have Hackman Capital Partners and The MBS Group make their first venture into Scotland. Their experience in the film and television industry and their commitment to Scotland will ensure that Wardpark Studios continues to develop and provide secure employment for years to come.”

“Scotland has a long history as a location for filmmaking, and todays’ announcement cements my ambition to further establish Scotland as one of the major global hubs for the production of film and high-end TV drama. The demand is unstoppable, but we have to compete in a global market to attract inward productions, and bringing HCP and MBS on board is the first step in the further growth of the industry in Scotland. It is my intention to now expand our investments in the Scottish screen sector in full collaboration with HCP and The MBS Group,” added Thomson.

Jason Hariton, Chief Real Estate Officer of The MBS Group, said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to build upon Terry and his team’s vision, driving the growth of this great studio and investing in our production technology and equipment business throughout Scotland. Despite the pandemic, a record £5.9bn was spent in the UK on high-end film and TV productions this year – nearly doubling over the last five years – and the Scottish Government is working hard to capitalize on the sector’s growth, by bolstering inward investment with the aim to add 30,000 new creative industries jobs over the next five years. We are proud to now play a key part in this mission.”

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Angus Robertson, said, “This excellent news confirms the growing confidence in Scotland as a world-class, film- and TV-making destination. Wardpark Film and Television Studios play an important role in our vibrant and fast-growing screen industry, and Hackman Capital Partners and The MBS Group will further promote this first-class production facility to the international market. 

“Scotland’s studios, including Wardpark, offer excellent training and apprenticeship opportunities to the many young people who are attracted to careers in production. Our investment in training through Screen Scotland and Skills Development Scotland continues to build up our reputation for world-class creative, technical and craft talent. We are committed to developing our screen infrastructure to capitalise on the unprecedented interest in bringing international productions to Scotland and to grow a sustainable creative economy,” added Robertson.

Executive Director of Screen Scotland, Isabel Davis, said, “Wardpark Studios has led the surge in production from Scotland for many years now and remains at the forefront.  Its success is synonymous with local talent at every level, from the visionary entrepreneurship of Terry Thomson, to the world-class design of the studio itself, and the hundreds of highly skilled people who have worked on Outlander across six seasons. It has been, from the start, a phenomenal training ground for scores of new entrants to the valuable and fast-growing Scottish screen sector.

“It’s great to see that Terry’s success story has caught the attention of a global player and we look forward to working with the Hackman Capital Partners, The MBS Group and the Wardpark team in pursuit of further growth for the Scottish film and TV industry,” Davis added.

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