Continuing his acquisition spree, Tarak Ben Ammar has acquired the entirety of French post-production company Eclair. The entrepreneur, who in November acquired control of Italian distributor Eagle Pictures, announced Wednesday that he has bought the 57% stake in Eclair which he did not already own.
Ben Ammar had taken a 43% share in Eclair last February from the Dormoy family which founded the company. The remaining 57% stake was purchased from investment fund ETMF2 for $18.7m (Euros 13m).
With the Eclair acquisition, Ben Ammar's Quinta Industries now owns all the film labs in France - Eclair, LTC, Scanlab, GTC and LNF - an achievement the mogul has intended for quite a while.
Today, Ben Ammar told Agence France Presse: 'I bought all these labs which were almost bankrupt. I invested 50 million euros over five years to build them back up and prepare them for digital. And, I saved jobs.'
Some in the industry did not react so favorably to Ben Ammar's latest move. Culture minister Christine Albanel said in a press release that she was concerned by the 'concentration' and that she would be speaking with Ben Ammar regarding the consequences of the deal on the rest of the industry.
Further, ARP, which represents French writers, directors and producers; the SACD, the French writers guild and the SRF, a directors union said in a release that they are also worried by the deal.
'This acquisition will lead to a veritable dismantling of the Eclair group ARP, the SACD and the SRF will thus be extremely attentive to the social consequences of the current capitalistic movements and will ask the public powers to question the constitution of such an entity in terms of competition rules,' the release noted.
Eclair, now valued at $33m (Euros 23m), is a leading post house which works in TV post-production, sound post-production and special effects and has worked on such big-budget titles as Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, Oliver Stone's Alexander and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement.