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EuropaCorp seeks to buy Cipango

Besson to move into TV fiction production

PARIS –Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp is in negotiations to buy Gaul’s Cipango, which produced the NBC miniseries “XIII.”

EuropaCorp’s move makes good on June’s announcement that it would enter TV fiction production.

Signaling further EuropaCorp diversification, Gallic investor La Nef Lumiere has just closed financing for Besson’s brainchild, the $214 million Cite du Cinema studio complex in Paris.

Cipango would make a good fit with EuropaCorp, having made high-end series and minis with international ambition such as “XIII,” starring Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer, and M6’s rookie cop skein “Les Bleus: Premier pas dans la Police.”

EuropaCorp has also held acquisition talks with France’s Carrere Group, which is in Chapter 11, to purchase subsids Ego Prods., Scarlett (“Clara Schiller”) and Septembre.

The best-known, Septembre, focuses on higher-budgeted period TV movies, such as the 1944-set “La Saison des immortelles.” It teamed with EuropaCorp to co-produce period feature film “Les Hauts murs.”

According to co-founder Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, EuropaCorp aims to develop French-language and international TV projects.

TV production would bring EuropaCorp more consistent income.

La Cite du Cinema is Besson’s passion project, with large potential synergies.

Cite owner La Nef Lumiere — a joint venture of French property developer Vinci and state investment bank Caisse des Depots — has just closed a credit facility with an undisclosed bank to cover financing for the complex.

Cite will house the nine-soundstage Paris Studios, France’s first modern mega-studios.

Paris Studios is co-owned by EuropaCorp, Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications, facility provider Euro Media Group and Besson’s own Frontline. EuropaCorp investment is capped at $8 million.

Construction began in February and Cite is skedded to open mid-2012.

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