EuropaCorp Plays Down Latest Report Of Impending Netflix Deal

STX Entertainment

Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has played down a new report in French financial paper Les Echos that Netflix is in pole position to invest in the company.

After the long Easter weekend, shares in the Valerian and Taken producer opened more than 30 percent higher this morning in Paris following the Saturday evening report. The article, which cites an unnamed source ‘close to the company’, claims that the streaming giant is in talks to invest in the French production giant but that other players including Warner Bros, Sony, TF1, Vivendi and current EuropaCorp investor Fundamental Films from China also remain in the mix to take a stake (or bigger stake in Fundamental’s case) in the firm. The article claims that discussions have been heating up in recent weeks.

However, EuropaCorp, whose market cap is now back up over €100M ($122M), told us today, “EuropaCorp does not confirm these rumours. As stated in the press releases of 23 January and on 2 February, EuropaCorp reiterates that indeed discussions are taking place with several potential industrial and/or financial partners. These discussions take place in serenity and trust. Nevertheless, EuropaCorp has not entered into exclusivity with any of the potential companies in question. EuropaCorp reiterates that the studio will communicate on the day when there is certain information and not just speculation which is not based on facts.”

Netflix declined to comment.

Shares in the heavily indebted production and distribution outfit opened up this morning at €2.56 ($3.15) and were still at €2.50 (+29%) at 3.30pm Paris time.

Talk of a company sale and Netflix investment, potentially in EuropaCorp’s library, have been swirling for months with the venerable production giant facing financial challenges since last year. In December, the French group posted a half-year loss of $83.1M, which was in part a result of the underwhelming performance from expensive sci-fi epic Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. Key execs including CEO Marc Shmuger and U.S. production head Liza Ellzey are among staff to have left the company which has also announced a reduced movie production slate going forward.

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