The Agnelli family – known for the Fiat brand in particular – takes a stake in the Mérieux group and thus expands its portfolio of activities. It is in a large French family universe that another large family from the Old Continent arrives. Founded in Lyon 125 years ago, Institut Mérieux today comprises five companies, the best known of which is BioMérieux, one of the world leaders in medical diagnostics. There is also the investment company Mérieux Equity Partners, which specializes in health and nutrition with more than one billion euros in assets under management.
Agnelli will take 10% of the capital of the Institut Mérieux, based in Lyon, until now entirely owned by the Mérieux (Alain, 83 years old), his son Alexandre (46 years old), the rest being held by the Christophe Foundation and Rodolphe Mérieux attached to the Institut de France.
If Agnelli’s investment amounts to 833 million euros, in reality, it is a capital increase of the French company in which the Italian family participates. This is not the first time that the Agnelli have taken a step aside from the automobile. The Italian family is already present in a myriad of activities including luxury with Christian Louboutin and his famous red-soled pumps; partner of Stellantis (ex-PSA) and, of course, owner of Juventus of Turin, chaired by Andrea Agnelli, 46 years old. Today, therefore, the family is focusing on health, a booming sector.
The Institut Lyonnais assures us: the intrusion of Italian into the historical group within it is a great first, but the Mérieux intend to remain at the helm. The arrival of the Agnelli in the capital is only a means of developing the activity in the face of new health, social and societal needs and the aging of the population which will require new and costly investments throughout Europe. It is also, somewhere, the strengthening of European family capitalism, far from the offensive of American pension funds and other predators of all kinds.