New coin to amp up TV production, first cinema theaters

PARIS

Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has approved a capital increase worth at least €30.3 million ($39.5 million) to finance TV production and its move into exhibition.

EuropaCorp is planning to open two multiplexes, one at the future city of Aeroville, near Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport, the other in Marseille, which is presently underscreened.

In a two-pronged operation, EuropaCorp has used a share swap to absorb Blue Advertainment, a brand entertainment and post-production company owned by Besson’s personal holding company, Front Line, and EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert.

Blue Advertainment is worth $13.4 million, according to an independent valuation, though EuropaCorp will assign it a book value of about $6.9 million.

Also greenlit Thursday, EuropaCorp will launch a share issue of at least $26 million in late January or early February. Besson’s Front Line is buying $6.5 million of the new stock. Other, undisclosed investors have committed to buy $11.7 million in stock, EuropaCorp said.

The stock issue’s starting price will be fixed nearer to the launch.

Selling Blue Advertainment to EuropaCorp and buying into the new share issue, Besson will own a stake of around 58% in EuropaCorp via Front Line. EuropaCorp’s new operations make sense in several ways, said Jean-Baptiste Sergeant, at Paris stockbroker Gilbert Dupont.

Regrouping brand entertainment — publicity films, live events — and post-production offers synergies with other EuropaCorp activities.

Raising Lambert’s stake in EuropaCorp will help maintain him at the company, where he has a good track record.

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