EuropaCorp Sells Its French TV Division After 'Valerian' Disappointment
The sale follows last week's departure of CEO Marc Shmuger.
Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has sold its French television business as it continues to feel the fallout from the disappointing performance of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Thomas Anargyros, current managing director of EuropaCorp Television, has acquired the assets for €11 million ($13 million).
The sale follows the departure of CEO Marc Shmuger, which was announced Nov. 10. It includes EuropaCorp's French-language television library and productions, such as the spy thriller No Limit, as well as some English-language library titles including Taxi Brooklyn, which aired on NBC in 2014, and the 2012 Rutger Hauer miniseries Flight of the Storks, among others.
The sale leaves its fledgling U.S. television production business intact. The Los Angeles-based division will continue with production on such series as Taken and the just-announced The French Detective with Oscar-winning actor Jean Dujardin.
With the departure of Shmuger, Besson will retake the helm of the struggling company, which posted a record loss of $135 million in the last fiscal year due to a string of box-office disappointments including the Naomi Watts-starrer Shut In and Kevin Spacey's Nine Lives — and that was before the disastrous performance of Valerian. Besson's sci-fi epic grossed $185 million worldwide on a budget of around $200 million.
Shmuger is the second major executive exit at EuropaCorp this year, following deputy CEO Edouard de Vesinne, who left in September.
The company's stock price has also taken a beating, closing at €1.27 ($1.49) Friday afternoon, down from €4.19 ($4.89) ahead of Valerian’s release.
It’s also the latest asset sale for EuropaCorp, which unloaded its multiplex business last year.
The struggling company says that the sale of its French television business will reduce its general expenses by €3 million ($3.5 million) while it tries to find its financial footing as it absorbs the losses from Valerian.