×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

EuropaCorp Stock Drops in Wake of Rape Allegation Against Luc Besson

The market value of EuropaCorp has fallen further since an actress filed a rape allegation last Friday against company founder Luc Besson, dropping 17% to just €2.31 ($2.70) a share Wednesday.

Paris-based EuropaCorp has been struggling financially for months, and is expected to report its 2017-2018 annual revenue Thursday. The company, which posted record losses of $135 million during the last financial year and has a debt load of approximately €230 million ($270 million), has been actively looking for a white knight.

That effort could now be complicated by the rape allegation against Besson, which is currently being investigated by French authorities. A French actress alleges that he assaulted her last Thursday in a Paris hotel.

“This rape accusation is catastrophic,” said a financier familiar with EuropaCorp. “It’s going to delay all the negotiations that were going on, and we fear it’s going to be a case of Weinstein redux with Besson being brought down, and then his company getting sued and going bankrupt.”

Discussions with potential buyers and investors, including Netflix, have not borne fruit, according to a source close to the company. Contacted by Variety, Netflix declined to comment on whether discussions with EuropaCorp or Besson had stopped.

The company’s main asset is its library, which has an estimated value of €140 million ($164 million) and includes such franchises as “Taken,” “Taxi” and “Transporter.” Besides the library, the other major asset is Besson himself. “If Besson becomes a persona non grata in the industry, the company’s worth will be greatly damaged and it will be very difficult to raise capital or find a buyer,” a financial analyst said.

The company’s library is being held in escrow by EuropaCorp’s primary lender, JP Morgan, along with the company’s other assets. “The risk, if EuropaCorp can’t repay its debt, is to see the lender do a debt-to-equity swap and take over the company,” the analyst said.

Within the last year, EuropaCorp has taken drastic steps to cut costs. It sold off its French TV production unit for €11 million and signaled in December its intention to lay off 22 employees in its French office within the next two years.

Besson’s next directorial effort, “Anna,” a thriller starring Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy and Luke Evans, is set to be released in the U.S. in October by Lionsgate. The last film he directed, the $180 million “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” grossed $225.8 million worldwide.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

  • Brett Gelman

    'Stranger Things' Star Brett Gelman Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse'

    Brett Gelman, best known for his scene-stealing roles in “Fleabag,” “Stranger Things” and “Love,” has joined Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith are also on board. Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known as John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy SEAL who [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola Honored With Prestigious Lumiere Prize by Thierry Fremaux, Bong Joon Ho

    Francis Ford Coppola took the stage to claim the Lumière Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Lumière Prize, in a stirring celebration that marked the festival’s 10th edition on Friday night in Lyon, France. The four-time Academy Award winner accepted the prize after a series of video tributes, musical performances and testimonials from family, friends and [...]

  • 'Human Capital' Sells to Vertical Entertainment,

    Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke's 'Human Capital' Sells Rights to DirecTV, Vertical Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to “Human Capital,” an official selection of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival from director Marc Meyers. The film stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maya Hawke. The ensemble drama follows numerous interconnected stories surrounding a hit and run, [...]

  • Robert Zemeckis

    Robert Zemeckis in Talks to Direct Live-Action 'Pinocchio' for Disney (EXCLUSIVE)

    Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action “Pinocchio.” Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz will produce through their company Depth of Field with Weitz penning the script. “Paddington” director Paul King had originally been tapped to direct but had to leave the project for unknown reasons at the beginning of the year. David [...]

  • Taron Egerton Elton John Rocketman Live

    Elton John and Taron Egerton Duet at 'Rocketman' Awards Season Event at the Greek Theatre

    “Rocketman” has officially launched into awards season. Paramount hosted a screening of the film with a live-performance of the score by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and a headlining performance by Elton John and the film’s star Taron Egerton. John and Egerton — who is in contention for best actor for his portrayal of the singer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content