New owner of Ardmore Studios pledges investment

New owner of Ardmore Studios pledges investment

By Gordon Deegan

Ardmore Studios is set for expansion, said its new owner Joe Devine, after the investment fund he runs bought the facility from Paul McGuinness and Ossie Kilkenny, as well as the Government, which owned a 32% stake through Enterprise Ireland. The price has not been disclosed.

Mr Devine, who is a co-founder of investment company Ion Equity, said he was delighted to have struck the deal for the studios where Moone Boy, Braveheart, The Tudors, and the Penny Dreadful have been made.

There is “significant global demand” for production facilities from the “big screen and increasingly on demand TV” and the gaming industry, he said.

“When coupled with Ireland having one of the more attractive incentive schemes in the world, it makes Ardmore an attractive asset. 

We have ambitious plans for the business and believe this heralds a new era for these historic studios,” he said.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan said the studios would be a boon to Ireland.

The company was put up for sale in October 2016 when it was jointly owned by former U2 manager Paul McGuinness and accountant Ossie Kilkenny, while Enterprise Ireland held a 32% share in the business.

The purchase by Mr Devine’s Olcott Entertainment Ltd comes as another Co Wicklow studio, Ashford Studios recently secured planning permission for a €90m expansion.

Mr Devine confirmed that Olcott plans to retain Ardmore’s staff and that Siún Ní Raghallaigh will remain as chief executive. She said that Olcott has ambitious plans to develop the facilities.

The most recent accounts for Ardmore Studios show its accumulated profits almost doubled to €1.54m in 2016. The sale was also welcomed by the Irish Film Board.

Features made at Ardmore secured 14 Oscars and a host of Golden Globe, Emmy, and Bafta awards.

Ardmore is currently home to RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars.

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