Pathe distribution is in talks with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp for a majority stake and potential cash infusion. Since the French director’s $177M-plus costing opus Valerian, his studio has been mired in financial problems.
“The group Pathé has expressed interest in a potential stake acquisition in the capital of the company. This expression of interest, non-binding, is subject to the realization of several conditions precedent, in particular an agreement on the restructuring of the existing debts of the group,” Pathe expressed in a statement to French media today.
EuropaCorp is still in talks with other buyers. The studio is hoping for a debt for equity swap with Pathe. A deal also depends on approval of the company’s leadership. Besson and his holding company FrontLine own 38% of EuropaCorp while Chinese investors own 28% after a $67M investment three years ago. After their investment soured, Chinese investors Fundamental Films stepped away from EuropaCorp.
Since December, Pathe has been distributing EuropaCorp movies with the contract calling for three movies over the next three years including Little White Lies 2 and Besson’s upcoming Anna (which Lionsgate is opening stateside on June 21). No further films are in production at EuropaCorp after Anna.
EuropaCorp carries a reported debt around $270M. They’ve sold their 500-title Roissy Films library and its French TV arm for €11M.