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Businessman Michel Ohayon, in Tourcoing, September 28, 2022. DENIS CHARLET / AFP
The entrepreneur is requesting the opening of a safeguard procedure for its 26 department stores operated under the Galeries Lafayette brand.
Source: © After Camaïeu and Go Sport, Michel Ohayon's business empire is disintegrating a little more

Michel Ohayon's business empire, which owns several French brands, is currently undergoing several receivership procedures. The FIB holding company, which controls around thirty subsidiaries, was itself placed in receivership, with a debt of 477 million euros, while three other holding companies suffered the same fate. The Chinese bank, creditor of the FIB, obtained the receivership of the companies which enabled Michel Ohayon to acquire the Waldorf Astoria, Sheraton and Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux hotels. In addition, Go Sport employees are concerned because their brand, owned by Hermione People & Brands, a subsidiary of Michel Ohayon, has been placed in receivership following a special alert report which pointed to unpaid disbursements. expenses for an amount of 36,3 million euros. The employees were also upset by the comments of Michel Ohayon, who told Sud Ouest that the employees of Go Sport had asked for protection from the court, which had been an error causing social damage and dragging down Gap. The employees of Go Sport were summoned by the Grenoble prosecutor's office to check the level of the company's liabilities.

The receivership of Hermione Retail, a subsidiary of the Financière immobilière bordelaise (FIB) and operator of 26 Galeries Lafayette franchise stores, comes in a broader context of financial difficulties for the FIB and its holding companies. The Bank of China, which is the creditor of loans granted to the FIB, obtained the receivership of three of its holding companies, which enabled Michel Ohayon, founder of the FIB, to acquire prestigious hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria in Versailles, the Sheraton at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport and the Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux. The FIB has also requested its own receivership. The procedures therefore concern a set of companies linked to Michel Ohayon and his family.

Yes, Mr. Ohayon's interview sparked reactions among the employees of Go Sport, another brand owned by the FIB. The employees are annoyed by the fact that Mr. Ohayon is complaining about the FIB's receivership while auditors have recently warned about the company's financial situation. Indeed, the elected staff exercised their right to economic alert and the auditors submitted a special alert report to the Commercial Court of Grenoble.

The article in Le Monde entitled "After Camaïeu and Go Sport, Michel Ohayon's business empire is crumbling a little more" recounts the difficulties encountered by businessman Michel Ohayon and his FIB group, in particular with the Camaïeu and Go Sports. The group was placed in receivership, and the employees of Go Sport exercised a right of economic alert, arousing the concern of the businessman. The auditors also alerted the Grenoble Commercial Court to non-recurring disbursements for a large amount, which led to the summons of the brand's management and the placement in receivership of the group and then of the taught. Mr. Ohayon defended the transfers of funds from Go Sport's treasury, saying that they were legal and that they benefited Camaïeu, another brand of the FIB group which was placed in compulsory liquidation in October 2022. The employees of Go Sport expressed their anger at these statements, believing that the management of the company was at fault.

It seems that the transfers of funds made from the Go Sport treasury to other entities owned by the Hermione People & Brands (HPB) company are controversial. Employees of Camaïeu, another brand owned by HPB, filed a complaint for abuse of corporate assets, while representatives of Go Sport staff recalled that these transfers were prohibited by the Go Sport takeover protocol signed between Rallye (its former owner) and HPB. The transfers are also at the heart of an investigation for abuse of social property opened by the Grenoble prosecutor's office.

Until then, employees of Gap (355) and Go Sport (2) are preparing for the worst. The Gap brand should soon be placed in receivership. Go Sport employees will have to wait until March 160 to find out the list of candidates ready to take over the brand. And the number of them who will then keep their jobs.

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