EuropaCorp Films USA, the U.S. arm of Luc Besson’s Paris-based company, has been granted a six-month debt waiver from a French commercial court.
Parent company EuropaCorp has already been on a six-month debt waiver since May, and the protection is supposed to come to an end in late November. A source close to the company said the debt waiver would likely be extended in order to allow EuropaCorp to complete its restructuring plan. Listed on the Paris stock market, EuropaCorp is currently in negotiations to be taken over by the New York investment fund Vine Alternative Investments, its junior lender.
The waiver for EuropaCorp Films USA has taken several months to be granted by the French court because it’s a company established in the U.S., according to a company spokesperson, who said the waiver was chiefly an administrative procedure since EuropaCorp Films USA doesn’t have any assets.
EuropaCorp Films USA was primarily set up to co-produce the company’s English-language movies. At one point, the Los Angeles office had a dozen employees, including Lisa Ellzey, the former president of U.S. film production. But more recently, only two or three staffers, including COO Kevin McDonald and Matthew Gross, the president of TV in the U.S., were left on the payroll.
Vine Alternative Investments is expected to take over EuropaCorp in the coming months. Vine, which already has a controlling stake in Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, could merge the libraries of both EuropaCorp and Village Roadshow, according to a financial source. EuropaCorp’s library includes hit franchises such as “Taken” and “The Transporter,” as well as “Lucy.”
Besson’s latest film, “Anna,” grossed about $31 million worldwide, including just $7.7 million in the U.S. The once-high-flying company currently has no films in production.