China’s FF Motion Invest, a subsidiary of Mark Gao’s Fundamental Films, has plowed 60 million euros ($67.9 million) into Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, acquiring a 27.9% stake in the company and becoming its second-biggest shareholder.
Aimed at financing EuropaCorp’s global growth strategy, the pact builds on the two companies’ long-standing partnership, which began in 2012 with an output deal and was extended in 2015. Fundamental also co-produced several EuropaCorp movies, including the “Transporter” trilogy reboot, and took a large equity stake in Besson’s 197-milion-euro sci-fi movie “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” France’s biggest-budgeted production ever.
The deal with Fundamental’s FF Motion Invest, which still has to be approved by regulatory authorities, will be presented at an extraordinary shareholders meeting at EuropaCorp before year’s end. If approved, the pact will give Fundamental Films a voting seat and one observer seat on EuropaCorp’s board of directors.
Besson’s holding company Front Line remains the majority shareholder with a 31.58% stake in the company.
“This capital increase will enhance EuropaCorp’s ability to produce and distribute English-language films and TV series around the world. We are delighted to further strengthen our close links with Fundamental Films and the booming Chinese market,” Besson said. “After their significant investment in our film ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,’ this agreement reflects their confidence in both our company and our global strategy.”
“We are delighted to become the second largest shareholder in EuropaCorp and strengthen our relationship with Luc Besson’s studio,” added Gao. “We are extremely confident in their ability to achieve its strategic goals and enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with it in this new phase of its development.”
One of Europe’s leading film studios, EuropaCorp runs production, theatrical distribution, video and VOD, and French TV sales, as well as exhibition through its multiplex in Aéroville launched in 2013.
EuropaCorp has direct distribution operations in the U.S. via its joint venture with Relativity Media, RED.