On the 20th of January 2017, Serge Hayat was awarded the French National Order of Merit from the hands of the Minister of Culture, Audrey Azoulay, at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Culture :  Acceptance Speech

Studies and first successes

After graduating from École Centrale Engineering School and ESSEC Business School, Serge Hayat set up his first company that specialized in integrating innovative audiovisual systems for corporations and broadcast companies. He developed it to have a €100 million turnover and 350 people company that is listed on the French stock exchange.

Serge, then, co-founded a start-up incubator for hi-tech and media companies and sold it to Société Générale a few years later.


Cinema and TV

Serge Hayat is currently one of the main financiers of cinema and television in France. He holds the position of chairman of the leading Cinemage Soficas (tax shelter investment funds), which he co-founded in 2005.

He was also in charge of the media vehicles of 123 Venture, which has had a film industry participation totaling 100 M€ in more than 500 films – including French academy awards (200+ nominations, 30+ Césars) and Cannes, Berlin, Venice awards winning films (60+ selections, 15+ awards, including the 2015, 2021 & 2023 Palmes d’Or Deehpan, Titane and Anatomy of a fall). Serge structured specific financing for top independent French distributors (Mars Distribution, Le Pacte or Wild Bunch).

In 2009, Serge Hayat co-founded Peopleforcinema, a website which allows net users to invest in and discover the movie industry and provides distributors with new tools to promote films. Peopleforcinema was successfully sold to Ulule, the European crowdfunding leader, in 2013.

In 2011, Serge Hayat acquired Cinéart (second French talent agency) with two partners and restructured it into Talentbox. The agency was successfully sold in 2014.

In 2015, Serge Hayat becomes a shareholder of Federation Entertainment, a major European TV series producer and distributor (The Bureau for Canal +, Marseille for Netflix).

Also in 2015, Serge Hayat and Clovis Cornillac partnered to launch the production company, Fair Play, which released the movie Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément.

In 2017, Serge Hayat partnered with Jean-François Camilleri, Yves Darondeau, and Emmanuel Priou to launch ((Echo Studio)), the first European film studio dedicated exclusively to the production and distribution of films that address social and environmental issues. Since its beginnings, Echo Studio has been working on various films including Tomorrow is ours  by Gilles de Maistre (2019), Walking on Water, by Aïssa Maiga (2021), Nadia (2021), Committed people (2022), Once upen a time in Africa (under development). In 2024, Echo Studio co-produced Artus’ film, Un P’tit Truc en Plus, which achieved monumental popular success, becoming the highest-grossing film at the French box office of its decade.

Since March 2019, he is co-president with Alexis Dantec of the SOFICA Representation Association (ARS).


Stories and AI

In 2021, Serge Hayat became a partner of Doors, a platform of exclusive, 100% original, read-only series, on any medium, in 5-minute episodes, to escape the time of an episode during a trip or while waiting for the subway. In September 2022, Vivlio, the French leader in digital books, acquires Doors.

In October 2022, Serge Hayat co-founded Ozma Labs, a studio for the development of original transmedia licenses that operates in web 2 and web 3. By involving communities in the process of development, creation and financing of works, Ozma Labs innovates by responding to the new challenges of the entertainment industry.


Other activities

Serge Hayat is currently the co-president of the Media & Entertainment Chair, which he founded at ESSEC Business School in 2006. He’s been teaching there for 30 years (corporate finance, entrepreneurship, and media economics).

Serge Hayat is the co-author of Précis de Mathématiques Financières (Dalloz, 1993), Paroles de Dirigeants (Eyrolles, 2004), L’Entreprise, un acteur clé de la société (Autrement, 2006). His first novel, L’Empire en héritage, published in 2015 (Allary Editions; Pocket, 2016), is currently being adapted for the screen; the feature film in preparation is directed by Sylvie Verheyde and produced by David Gauquié (Cinefrance Studios). His second novel, L’Aigle et la Rose (Éditions de l’Observatoire, 2024) will be adapted for the theater in a play directed by Catherine Schaub and produced by Arnaud Bertrand (984 Productions).