Chinese production and distribution outfit Fundamental Films has acquired a 27.9% stake in Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp for $67 million (€60M), the company said Thursday.
This makes the Shanghai-based Fundamental the second-biggest shareholder of the French mini-major, with Besson’s holding company Front Line remaining the majority shareholder with a 31.58% stake, down from 43.8%.
The deal, which is aimed at boosting EuropaCorp’s global footprint, builds upon the output deal first signed in 2012 between the two companies, which was extended into 2015. Hit films such as Lucy and Taken were products of the deal. Fundamental and EuropaCorp have also co-produced several films together including the Transporter trilogy reboot, and most recently the Chinese banner took a large equity stake in Besson’s upcoming $180M interplanetary sci-fi epic Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets.
“This capital increase will enhance EuropaCorp’s ability to produce and distribute English-language films and series worldwide,” said Besson in a statement. “We’re delighted to strengthen our strong ties with Fundamental Films and the booming Chinese market. “After their significant investment in our film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, this agreement reflects their confidence in both our company and our global strategy.”
Fundamental Films chairman Mark Gao added: “We are delighted to become the second-largest shareholder in EuropaCorp and strengthen our relationship with Luc Besson’s studio. We are extremely confident in their ability to achieve its strategic goals and enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with it in this new phase of its development.”
Both boards approved the deal and it is expected to be approved by shareholders before the year is up.
EuropaCorp posted an annual loss of $31M (€27.7M) for the 2015-2016 fiscal year ending March 31, down from a profit of $18M (€16M) the previous year.
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