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Technicolor is drawn to Ben Ammar

Facilities used for 'Legion,' 'Hannibal,' 'Decameron'

France’s Thomson group, owner of Technicolor, will take a 17.5% stake in Tarak Ben Ammar’s Datacine group of French post-production facilities, the two announced Thursday.

Over the past three years, Ben Ammar has taken over facilities that rep a 60% share of the French market and generated revenues of around $82 million in 2005. Their value net of debt is some $72 million.

The facilities are being used for the Dino De Laurentiis productions “The Last Legion,” “Young Hannibal” and “Decameron,” co-produced by Ben Ammar under a three-picture deal.

Although Thomson is French, before the pact with Ben Ammar, France was one of the few countries where Technicolor did not have a foothold — a state of affairs it had been looking to change.

The company first announced a commercial partnership with Ben Ammar’s holding company, Quinta Communications, in November 2004.

Then, in May, Thomson and Ben Ammar inked a further partnership with multihyphenate Luc Besson, agreeing to let 64,500 square feet of space in Besson’s Cite du Cinema studio, to be built in a suburb north of Paris.

“It’s a logical move for Thomson and for us,” Ben Ammar said of the deal. “The cash raised will allow us to modernize our facilities, and we will be a part of one of the world’s most advanced groups in digital technology.”

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