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Netflix reportedly "in advanced talks" to acquire French film company EuropaCorp
Last Updated: 2018-04-04 08:46 | Xinhua
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Netflix is in "advanced talks" to purchase the debt-ridden French film company EuropaCorp, a move that will help bolster the former's original content amid fierce competition with other online streaming services, according to media reports.

The potential acquisition could be announced "in a few weeks," reported French financial newspaper Les Echos on its website late last week. Netflix would be "well placed" to secure the deal, it added.

The discussions are progressing well, and the aim is to have a deal done by the summer, the newspaper cited a source close to the matter as saying.

In early February, EuropaCorp confirmed in a press release that it has "initiated discussions with various potential financial and/or industrial partners in order to reinforce its financial capacity." It noted then that all of these discussions were still "at a preliminary stage."

EuropaCorp, co-founded by renowned French director Luc Besson in 1999, has been struggling with a heavy debt load estimated at 285 million U.S. dollars in recent years.

The big flop of "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," Besson's latest blockbuster sci-fi film released last summer, dealt another blow to the company. Since then, EuropaCorp's market value has plummeted by more than 60 percent to its recent lows in January.

EuropaCorp had plenty of successful films in the past, most well known for its science fiction thriller "Lucy" in 2014 and the action thriller film series "Taken."

In less than 20 years, the company has produced more than 110 films and has a catalog of more than 500 films in French and English, reported French magazine Capital on its website.

EuropaCorp is now worth 97 million dollars on the stock market. In comparison, Netflix is a giant with a 128-billion-dollar market value.

Even accounting for the debt, Netflix would pay relatively little to acquire a production house with vast worldwide potential, commented tech news website Engadget.

The potential acquisition is also in line with Netflix's strategy to invest more into producing original movies as it is locked in a race with its peers to entice more subscribers.

Last year, the company said it would spend more than 8 billion dollars on original content in 2018.

If the acquisition comes to fruition, the U.S. video streaming giant would add to its library abundant original content including Besson's famous franchises, and tap into Besson's huge international fan base.

Moreover, the potential deal would also give Netflix more control over the production and distribution of films in the future.

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