Berlusconi leaves control of business empire to two eldest children
MILAN – Silvio Berlusconi’s eldest children Marina and Pier Silvio will together control the business empire founded by the former prime minister, according to the terms of his will which was made public on Thursday.
Marina and Pier Silvio Berlusconi, who both already have executive roles in parts of the business, will hold equal stakes jointly amounting to around 53 percent in the Fininvest family holding.
Marina, 56, chairs Fininvest while Pier Silvio, 54, has been in charge of the MFE-MediaForEurope TV business which their father founded. Fininvest also owns Italian Serie A soccer club AC Monza and a stake in asset manager Banca Mediolanum.
Forbes estimated that the overall Berlusconi family assets, which include luxury properties in Milan, Rome and Sardinia, were worth around $6.8 billion.
Brash, ebullient and a four-time prime minister, Berlusconi was a media mogul and political showman whose financial and sexual scandals made him the most polarizing figure in modern Italy. He died on June 12 at the age of 86.
Marina and Pier Silvio worked closely together as their father’s health faded. Barbara, Eleonora and Luigi Berlusconi, his three children from his second marriage, have been less involved in the family business.
A statement on behalf of the five children said: “No shareholder will exercise overall individual indirect control of Fininvest SpA, previously exercised by their father”.
Berlusconi made his inheritance decision on Fininvest in 2006, a copy of the will seen by Reuters showed. He signed off his bequest with the handwritten words: “Thanks, so much love to all of you, your Dad.”
MFE’s B shares on the Milan stock exchange slipped after the will was made public. They had risen on speculation the family could sell its stake, but MFE CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi said this week that a sale had never been discussed.
“It seems that there is a move towards continuity in the management of MFE, which reduces the speculative appeal of the stock,” Equita analysts wrote in a note.
100M euros for ‘wife’ Marta
Berlusconi left 100 million euros ($109 million) each to Marta Fascina, his partner at the time of his death, and his younger brother Paolo, according to the copy of the will.
He also left 30 million euros to Marcello Dell’Utri, a long-term business partner and close friend who was convicted of Mafia collusion in 2014.
Dell’Utri, a friend of Berlusconi’s from university days in Milan, said he was moved to tears by the bequest.
Berlusconi was not legally married to Fascina, who is 33, though on his deathbed he would call her his wife.
The will was in an unsealed envelope and dated Jan. 19. 2022, coinciding with one of the occasions when Berlusconi was admitted to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital for treatment.
Berlusconi, who founded a business empire based on real estate and then television, died in Milan. He was suffering from leukemia and had recently contracted a lung infection.
He had remained active in politics as the leader of his Forza Italia party, which is a component of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s coalition.
Under Italian law, the deceased’s heirs inherit two-thirds of his wealth in equal parts, while the individual making the will can distribute the remaining one-third how they please.
Berlusconi largely gave the part of his estate over which he had control to Pier Silvio and Marina – meaning they jointly ended up with 60 percent of his assets, while the three younger children shared 40 percent.
($1 = 0.9203 euros)