A first in France: A new educational model, and new shareholders for emlyon business school

A first in France: A new educational model, and new shareholders for emlyon business school


The founder and principal administrator of the emlyon group, CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne, is continuing the transformation process underway at its school in order to further support its growth.

Having begun the school’s legal transformation in August 2018 with the creation of the limited company, early makers group SA, and then decided in January 2019 to open up its share capital, CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne is announcing today that it has begun negotiations with Qualium Investissement and Bpifrance Investissement, with the aim of them becoming shareholders in early makers group SA, the holding company of the emlyon group. 

This major partnership is designed to help the school’s educational model to evolve, and to support its commitment to excellence and its development at a worldwide level, whilst also respecting its fundamental values.

A deep-rooted transformation

Encouraged by CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne, emlyon has been undergoing a profound transformation of its model since 2014 through an expansion of its educational offer, and the processes of internationalization and digitalization. This dynamic approach has led to a doubling of the group’s turnover and a return to profitability, in a context of complete independence from all state subsidies.

CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne is convinced of the need to go further, in order to meet the challenges facing the tertiary education sector. The digital transformation, an evolution in the relationship with ‘knowing’, and globalization have disrupted the usual approaches to learning and teaching, and have led to changes in the needs of companies. Innovation, hybridization, agility and a global presence are essential today for enabling schools and tertiary education institutions to maintain their positioning over the long term – in an environment that is becoming ever more competitive – and to guarantee the employability of individuals.

Faced with these challenges, and in a context of a reduction in its resources, CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne decided to begin a legal transformation that would enable the share capital of the emlyon group to be reconstituted. This would involve the addition of a private investor, accompanied by an institutional investor, followed by a share allocation for employees and, in time, a further allocation for the school’s graduates.

This unique project illustrates the audacious and pioneering character of the CCI’s elected representatives, who have been guided by their entrepreneurial DNA.

Given this context, CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne is announcing today that it has begun exclusive negotiations with Qualium Investissement and Bpifrance Investissement, with the aim of an investment by them in the share capital of early makers group SA, the holding company for all the activities of the emlyon group. As currently envisaged, the operation would take the form of a commitment to provide around €100 million in equity capital over the next five years, to be used to finance the group’s development projects. Of this figure, €40 million would be paid on the date of completion of the operation, which could be finalized in the months ahead. Organizations representing the staff of the emlyon group will be informed and consulted about the project in the days ahead, in accordance with the relevant regulations. The operation would be subject to authorization by the relevant competition authorities. 

A unique governance model that respects the school’s fundamental values

The capital and governance of the emlyon group would be organized in a balanced way, involving highly complementary stakeholders. This would ensure the long-term development of the group in a way that respects its fundamental values:

  • CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne would retain an important role as a historic, local shareholder. It would benefit from specific rights, or ‘golden rules’, that would ensure the fundamental principles of the school would be preserved: it would have a blocking minority for 10 years, and a right of veto over major decisions affecting the school, thereby guaranteeing its academic excellence and its solid roots in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region (maintaining the group’s headquarters in metropolitan Lyon and the denomination of ‘Lyon’ in the brand). It would also have the right to review the addition of any new shareholders to the group, etc. The continuing significant involvement of CCI would also include its expertise and in-depth knowledge of the skills needed by companies – which would enable the school to adjust its training programs to the needs of local companies.
  • Qualium Investissement and Bpifrance Investissement would become significant shareholders in the group, providing it with the resources necessary to continue its exceptional growth, and for maintaining and developing its academic excellence.
  • Employees of the emlyon group andalumniwho wish to take part in this project would be offered the opportunity to become shareholders, allowing these essential stakeholders for the success of this innovative project to be involved - and to reaffirm their attachment to their school.
  • This unique model of governance, bringing together a variety of different stakeholders, all committed and united around a shared determination to succeed, would capitalize on the dynamic process already established by the school’s management. This action to accelerate the school’s development is resolutely ambitious. Yet at the same time, it would also ensure that its academic and learning excellence would be maintained.

“In a context of unprecedented change in tertiary education and the significant constraints that have been placed on all CCIs, the heads of companies who are elected representatives of CCI Lyon Métropole have had the entrepreneurial courage, audacity and vision to create a pioneering and ambitious solution that is designed to ensure the best possible future for the school created by their predecessors in 1872,” declared Emmanuel Imberton, President of CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne.

“We are proud to become the first French school that aims to include its employees among its shareholders and to open up its governance to new partners of great quality who, through their provision of equity capital and their expertise, should enable emlyon to reach a new level and take its place among the best business schools in Europe,” declared Tawhid Chtioui, Chairman of the Executive Board and Dean of emlyon business school. 

“We are delighted to be taking part, with Bpifrance and in association with CCI Lyon Métropole – and soon the employees of the emlyon group, and to be helping the school’s teams to deliver an ambitious project for growth,” declared Jean Eichenlaub, Managing Partner of Qualium Investissement. 

About CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne

CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne operates for the benefit of 120,000 companies in its region. Along with other stakeholders, it helps to provide support for economic growth, the competitiveness of local companies, and the attractiveness of the greater metropolitan area of Lyon Saint-Etienne Roanne. It has three main activities: representing companies and acting as their spokesperson in dealings with government agencies; acting as a growth accelerator for companies, from the start-up phase and every subsequent stage of their development; and finally, helping with the management of major facilities that support the development and attractiveness of the region, and optimizing regional development through major infrastructure projects.

About emlyon business school

Founded in 1872 by the Lyon Chamber of Commerce, emlyon business school welcomes 7,260 students, representing over 90 nationalities, and 6,200 managers in its professional development programs. The school has six campuses in France and abroad (Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Casablanca, Shanghai, Paris, Bhubaneswar), and can draw on a network of 181 international academic partners. In addition, it maintains a community of 32,000 alumni in 120 countries. emlyon business school’s mission is to develop ‘makers,’ agents of transformation with a flair for teamwork, who anticipate, link worlds, handle and cultivate ideas, and see things and take action before others. This notion of ‘maker’ reflects the vision of the entrepreneur endorsed by emlyon business school: a maker tries, experiments, makes mistakes, starts again, and learns as they go. emlyon business school strives to cultivate these skills in a next-generation approach that combines the production and dissemination of excellence in academic research with the creation of innovative curriculums. 

About Qualium Investissement

Qualium Investissement, a private equity company registered with France’s stock market regulator (Autorité des marchés financiers), has the Caisse des Dépôts as its principal sponsor. It is one of the most experienced investment companies operating in France and currently has nearly €1 billion of assets under management. Although affiliated to the Caisse des Dépôts, Qualium Investissement is independent in its decision-making and investment strategy. Since it was created in 1998, Qualium has invested in nearly 60 French companies. Qualium’s aim is to provide the leadership teams of the companies it supports with all the expertise and resources needed to achieve their ambitious plans for development - notably through international expansion and external growth.

About Bpifrance Investissement

The equity capital investments of Bpifrance are operated by Bpifrance Investissement. Bpifrance finances companies – at every stage of their development – through credit, guarantees and equity capital. Bpifrance helps them with their innovation projects in France and internationally. Bpifrance also now supports their export activities, courtesy of a wide range of products. Consultancy, university links, networking and accelerator programs for start-ups and SMEs are also part of its offering to entrepreneurs.

Advisors for CCI Lyon Métropole Saint-Etienne Roanne and the emlyon group regarding the operation:

  • Financial advisors: Natixis Partners (Jean-Baptiste Marchand, Thomas Laroque, Bertrand Duquesne, Romain Etienne)
  • Legal advisors: Shearman & Sterling LLP (Nicolas Bombrun, Martin Chassany, Rudi Pfortner), Ernst & Young (Béatrice Delabre, Joel Fisher, Clotilde Carecchio, Natacha Liaboeuf)

Press contacts :

CCI Lyon Métropole :

Gabrielle de Pommery Tél. 07 60 74 65 02 – g.depommery@lyon-metropole.cci.fr
emlyon business school :

Lucile Robinet Tél. 06 49 15 35 49 - robinet@em-lyon.com