EM Lyon wants to relaunch with a new shareholder

EM Lyon wants to relaunch with a new shareholder

EM Lyon wants to relaunch with a new shareholder

Amid controversy, governance crisis and loss of grade, the EM Lyon management school is struggling to get out of the turmoil. Has the page been turned, as Isabelle Huault, the president of the board of directors who arrived in September 2020 to relaunch the institution that welcomes 9,000 students every year, proclaims? The entry of a new shareholder could contribute to this.

According to various sources, the school where Laurent Wauquiez (former president of the Republicans) was a short-term teacher, should formalize the entry of Galileo Global Education on Thursday 8 September. This operator, which presents itself as the European leader in higher education, with 54 schools in its portfolio (including Cours Florent, Penninghen, Paris School of Business, etc.), is supported by Téthys Invest, the investment holding of the Bettencourt family. (largest shareholder of L’Oréal).

Together, they are expected to hold nearly 40% of EM Lyon’s capital, behind the Lyon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) which would hold 51%. This increase, with a bet of over 100 million euros at stake, would be achieved in part with a capital increase, Galileo, also taking over the investment fund Qualium. Galileo and Téthys also plan to make room for local investors and alumni.

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In 2018, EM Lyon, a non-profit association like her peers, caused an earthquake in the world of higher education by transforming itself into a public company. The group had opened its capital the following year to Qualium, a management company created under the aegis of the Caisse des dépôts et consignations, and to the public bank Bpifrance. The ICC of Lyon, which had participated in the creation of the school in 1872, had supported this revolution, convinced that it was no longer able to finance its development, and in particular the internationalization of Casablanca in Mubaï. It was she who had weighed in the selection of Qualium, a novice in the education sector, when part of the EM Lyon teams had campaigned for the Eurazeo fund, which already owned hotel schools in Switzerland.

No “financialization” of the structure

Within EM Lyon, settling of scores and many departures followed. Former LREM deputy Bruno Bonnell had resigned as chairman of the supervisory board. A new general manager was appointed in April 2019, to finally be landed nine months later. The critics then denounced a lower selectivity of students at the entrance, in the context of parallel admissions, combined with a decline in academic quality. EM Lyon defended itself against it, declaring itself the victim of a smear campaign.

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