×
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.

More Film

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content