EuropaCorp, the French mini-major co-founded by Luc Besson in 2000, signed a five-year, $450M credit facility during the Cannes Film Festival in May to finance a slate of English-language films. At the time, the studio said it also had a $100M accordion that would be used to finance its existing credit facility of $132.8M. Today, the studio says it has closed on a $400M credit line, plus a $50M second credit facility and a $150M accordion. The existing credit facilities of about $160M have been fully repaid, increasing Europa’s financing ability threefold (fourfold with the accordion), the studio says.
Along with financing its English-language movies, the facility will be used to fund marketing and distribution costs related to the new productions that will be distributed in the U.S. through its joint venture with Relativity, Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution (aka RED), which was formed this year. The first film on the slate is The Transporter Legacy which is set for release February 27 in the U.S. In its first big acquisition since forming the JV, Europa acquired U.S. rights to Samuel L Jackson-starrer Big Game during the Toronto Film Festival.
The studio is on an expansion kick with a jump from releasing three movies per year to eight. Europa is also coming off of a massive hit with the Besson-directed sci-fi actioner Lucy. Released largely by Universal, with Europa retaining some overseas territories, the film has made $415M worldwide to date and is still in release.
At Cannes in May, Europa CEO Christophe Lambert said the facility “illustrates the increased confidence in EuropaCorp’s credit quality and financial solidity. It is a major success, as it increases significantly EuropaCorp’s capacities to produce and distribute a wider range of films.”
The credit facility was arranged by J.P. Morgan, SunTrust Bank and OneWest Bank. The senior credit was undertaken by a number of major banks, including France’s Natixis. EuropaCorp was advised by Arnaud de Senilhes of Jeantet and Sheri Jeffrey of Hogan Lovells. J.P. Morgan was advised by Richard Pettreti of Morgan Lewis.