As it seeks to climb out of the red, Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has sold its French TV production unit for 11 million euros ($13 million).
The business assets were acquired by Thomas Anargyros, who is the CEO of EuropaCorp Television. Anargyros has been heading EuropaCorp’s TV division since its launch in 2010, when his production banner, Cipango, was acquired by EuropaCorp. Anargyros had founded Cipango with Edouard de Vesinne, who became deputy CEO of EuropaCorp in 2016 and was ousted in September.
The sale of the French TV business fits into EuropaCorp’s scaled-back strategy to focus on fewer films and English-language series, as well as cut overhead. EuropaCorp said the sale will allow the company to reduce its overhead by about 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million) and 3 million euros ($3.5 million) per year.
A week ago, Marc Shmuger, who was hired on a renewable six-month contract in 2016, announced he would be stepping down as CEO of EuropaCorp at the end of the year. Besson will assume interim CEO responsibilities starting Jan. 1.
EuropaCorp is currently facing a large-scale financial crisis, intensified by the disappointing performance of sci-fi epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” along with a string of pricey English-language flops (notably “Nine Lives,” “Shut In,” “Miss Sloane” and “The Circle”) that it released in the U.S.
Since posting record losses of $135 million during the last financial year, EuropaCorp has seen its stock value fall dramatically. “Valerian” did not allow the company to return to profitability and launch another strong franchise.
As part of the deal, Anargyros gains rights to series and films which are produced, in production or in development at EuropaCorp Television, including “XIII,” “Le Vol des Cigognes,” and “Taxi Brooklyn,” as well as rights to EuropaCorp Television’s catalogue of French-language titles.
EuropaCorp said it will continue its U.S. TV business and does not plan to sell this activity.
“The company will continue to produce and distribute English-language TV series with strong international potential, such as the series ‘Taken,’ whose second season is currently in production,” EuropaCorp said.