Berlusconi’s eldest heirs take control of mogul’s estate
The eldest children of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have formally taken control of their father’s €7 billion ($7.5 billion) business empire after all heirs reached an agreement on the late billionaire’s will.
“Marina and Pier Silvio Berlusconi jointly get indirect control over Fininvest SpA, clearly ensuring its stability and management continuity,” Fininvest, the family holding company, said in a statement Monday.
All five of the former premier’s children have accepted their father’s legacy in accordance with his last wishes, according to the statement.
Marina and Pier Silvio indirectly own 52% of Fininvest, while the media tycoon’s three other children own a combined 48%, said people familiar with the matter. A spokesman for Fininvest declined to comment on the stakes.
The deal reached among Berlusconi’s heirs envisages a five-year lockup period over their holdings, the people said.
The succession plan at Fininvest has drawn considerable media attention in Italy, at least partly due to the contrast with the estate of another well-known Italian billionaire: eyewear entrepreneur Leonardo Del Vecchio, who died last year without giving control to any of his seven heirs.
Fininvest controls MFE-MediaForEurope NV, Italy’s biggest commercial broadcaster. Previously known as Mediaset, MFE dominates the Italian TV advertising market with more than a 40% share. It also famously served as the launchpad for Berlusconi’s political career in the 1990s.
In addition to corporate holdings, the estate contains a range of luxury properties, where Berlusconi hosted high-profile meetings with political allies and heads of states, both as founder and leader of the Forza Italia party and during his stints as prime minister.