Bollore, Euromedia buy Gaul-owned producer

Deal worth 4.5 million euro

PARIS — Bollore Investissements and its affiliate Euromedia Television jointly purchased the Societe Francais de Production, France’s ailing state-owned TV production company, on Monday, ending months of speculation.

Under the 4.5 million euro ($4 million) deal ratified by the ministries of Culture and Finance, Euromedia will take 70% of newly created SFP Holding, Bollore Investissements 30%.

The companies are headed by Breton entrepreneur Vincent Bollore, who owned a 19.6% stake in Pathe, which he sold in 1999 to Vivendi and Canal Plus for $637 million. The year before, he unloaded his 12.6% in the parent company of French private web TF1.

Current deal, said to be part of Bollore’s renewed strategy to acquire media companies, will give the new outfit several studios in Boulogne in Bry-sur-Marne. Bollore and Euromedia will keep only 130 of the SFP’s 410 employees. The government will allocate $40 million — 10 times the price paid for the production company — to help the displaced workers.

Created in 1974, SFP has been a nationally run company since 1982, and has weathered many starts and stops on the road to privatization.

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