By Elvira Pollina
MILAN (Reuters) – Silvio Berlusconi’s eldest children Marina and Pier Silvio will jointly share majority control of the business empire he founded, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday, after the former prime minister’s will was unsealed.
Marina and Pier Silvio Berlusconi, who both already have executive roles in parts of the business, will hold equal stakes jointly worth around 53% in the Fininvest family holding company, the source said, confirming an earlier report from ANSA news agency.
Marina chairs Fininvest while Pier Silvio has been in charge of the MFE-MediaForEurope TV business which has long been the jewel in the family’s crown.
Berlusconi’s five children earlier said in a statement that “no shareholder will exercise overall individual indirect control of Fininvest SpA, previously exercised by their father”.
Barbara, Eleonora and Luigi Berlusconi, his three children from his second marriage, have been less involved in the family business.
Berlusconi, who died on June 12 at the age of 86, made his inheritance decision back in 2006, a copy of the will seen by Reuters showed. He signed off his bequest with the 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, losing about 0.4% as of 0844 GMT.
The shares 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 and the company would stick to its European growth plans.
“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.
100 MILLION EUROS FOR PARTNER
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.
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.
At the time, the four-times prime minister and leader of the conservative Forza Italia party was running a failed bid for the Italian presidency.
Berlusconi, who founded a business empire based on real estate and then television, died in Milan. He was suffering from leukaemia and had recently contracted a lung infection.
Under Italian law, children have a right to inherit two-thirds of a parent’s wealth in equal parts, while the deceased is free to dispose of the remaining one-third as they see fit.
Berlusconi also owned Italian Serie A soccer club Monza. His property assets include Villa San Martino, in the town of Arcore close to Milan, where his ashes are housed in the family mausoleum.
Other properties include Villa Certosa on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, where he hosted leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
(This story has been refiled to fix a typo in paragraph 12)
($1 = 0.9203 euros)
(Additional reporting by Giulio Piovaccari, writing by Federico Maccioni and Keith Weir, editing by Alvise Armellini and Mark Potter)
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