French investment group Bollore has acquired a 7% stake in French film group Gaumont, the value of which has not been disclosed.
Gaumont - which saw a massive Euros 66.7m loss in 2000 and merged its exhibition operations with Pathe's in early 2001 to form EuroPalaces, (66% Pathe/ 34% Gaumont) - has since concentrated on production and distribution activities.
The company, which suffered as a result of UGC's loyalty passes, was dealt a further blow last year, when StudioCanal bought a 49% stake in one of Gaumont's major production partners, Legende Enterprises (producer of Mathieu Kassovitz hit The Crimson Rivers).
Gaumont had previously lost a major source of revenue when Luc Besson terminated his collaboration with the French film major, after the latter refused to back the Besson-produced Taxi (which went on to become a highly successful franchise) to form his own production and distribution outfit, Europa Corp.
Lately, Jean-Marie Poire, director of Gaumont blockbusters Les Visiteurs and Les Visiteurs 2, elected to develop his latest title, Ma Femme S'appelle Maurice, outside of the company.
Rumours of a sale by Nicolas Seydoux, with Pathe (held by Seydoux's brother Jerome Seydoux) and TF1 as potential (and eventually combined) suitors, have been plentiful in the industry for the past couple of years
Bollore Investissements (which briefly held a stake in Pathe which it later on sold to Vivendi) has lately been building up its media interests, under a dedicated subsidiary, Bollore Media. The latter holds a 30% stake in French facilities and studios group SFP (Societe Francaise de Production), among others.
Vincent Bollore has also announced that he would bid for one of the digital terrestrial licenses which are to be allocated later this year by the French government.