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Warner Bros confirms De Lane Lea acquisition

In a widely expected move, Warner Bros Studios Leavesden has bought audio post-production house De Lane Lea. The deal, announced today (7 November), will see the Soho facility renamed Warner Bros De Lane Lea "in the coming weeks".

In a widely expected move Warner Bros Studios Leavesden has bought Soho audio post-production house De Lane Lea. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, was announced today (7 November) and will see the Soho facility renamed Warner Bros De Lane Lea “in the coming weeks”. There has been intense industry speculation in recent months that Warner Bros was looking to buy De Lane Lea to work alongside the newly rebranded WB Studios at Leavesden in Hertfordshire, where the Harry Potter films were produced. Despite the rumours persisting De Lane Lea denied it was about to be bought, although Warner Bros merely declined to comment. Warner Bros De Lane Lea will be overseen by Kim Waugh, senior vice president of post-production services for Warner Bros Studio Facilities, and Dan Dark, senior vice president and managing director of Warner Bros Studios Leavesden. According to a WB spokesman De Lane Lea chief executive Huw Penallt Jones decided “not to transfer over” and left the company yesterday (6 November). All other staff are moving to the new company. De Lane Lea studios was founded in 1947 by Major William de Lane Lea, a former French intelligence attache, to work on dubbing English-language films into French. During the 1960s it became a music recording studio and was based in Kingsway, and then Wembley, with clients including The Beatles, Jeff Beck and Wishbone Ash. The facility switched back to mixing for film and TV in the 1970s when it moved to its current premises on Dean Street in Soho. Housing three re-recording stages, two ADR rooms, 40 picture editing suites, a TV mixing room, screening room and a transfer bay, De Lane Lea has been used for a variety of productions over the years, including The Omen, Withnail and I, Billy Elliot and, significantly, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Central to the De Lane Lea’s work is the big Studio 1, which is only challenged in size by the dubbing theatres at Halo Post and Goldcrest Post Production. The company suffered a major set-back in July 2009 when a fire in the next door building spread, causing serious damage to the De Lane Lea studios that needed a year of refurbishment. Since re-opening in 2010 De Lane Lea has worked to regain its previous position but faced competition from other Soho facilities, notably Halo and Goldcrest. Commenting on the acquisition, Kim Waugh said, “By owning and operating our own post-production facility in the UK, we’re increasing the flexibility and scheduling of our own post-production requirements, as well as those of other studios. De Lane Lea has long been the leader in the UK post-production market and we’re confident that its fine traditions and preferred location status will continue to prosper under our new ownership.” As well as working on Warner Bros production the facility will also be available to external clients.