As Luc Besson's EuropaCorp agreed to acquire sales company Roissy Films and its 500-title strong catalog, Roissy's president and owner Raphael Berdugo calls the deal 'a very logical' step,

The deal, which values the catalog at about $40m, is set to be finalised in early 2008 and ensures Roissy's ability to continue to acquire and co-produce films for the future, Berdugo told

Berdugo says that Roissy plans to continue to work with quality auteur films and co-productions such as the recent Caramel by director Nadine Labaki. The company will remain in its offices and keep its 16-person team in tact.

Beginning in 2008, Europa and Roissy's sales teams will look for synergies at markets such as Cannes where Berdugo said it will be wiser for them to present themselves together.

'I had thought about doing this for a while but the circumstances are now more favourable,' Berdugo says. 'There is more demand now for catalogs given all the new media platforms.'

He continues, 'There is a nice complimentarity relationship between Roissy and Europa since Europa didn't yet have a big catalog and this helps to bolster Europa following its IPO. It helps make the two companies stronger and puts us in a better negotiating position.'

Europa entered the Euronext exchange this summer following an initial public offering that raised roughly $95m.

Given the recent trend towards companies consolidating, Berdugo says, 'In the film arena I think there is a need because companies are exposed to more and more risk. It's difficult to finance films with TV pre-sales and today's market is very concentrated on films with big budgets or little auteur surprises.' Indeed, mid-range films are finding it harder to survive in such a landscape.

Berdugo explains that previously companies like Roissy had access to independent producers and their mandates, but that now producers are more often ceding those mandates in order to finance their films.

The financial risk involved in putting down a minimum guaranty for those mandates is one of an ensemble of factors that is forcing smaller companies to consolidate with bigger groups, Berdugo notes.

However, he contends, Roissy's was probably the last big catalog available on the French market. 'There will still be small movements (in the industry) but not of this size.'