Italy’s Billionaire Del Vecchio Boosts Mediobanca Stake

Luxottica founder Leonardo Del Vecchio raised his stake in Mediobanca SpA to 15.4%, consolidating his grip as the single largest shareholder of the Italian investment bank.

Del Vecchio boosted its stake from 13.17% via its Delfin Sarl investment company on Monday, according to a Consob filing. The same day Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest sold its entire position, exiting the bank after about 13 years. Fininvest’s decision was linked to the “rationalization and re-balancing of its financial investment portfolio,” according to a statement.

In August, Del Vecchio, 85, won European central bank approval to double his stake in Mediobanca to as much as 20%. He has criticized Mediobanca’s management for being too passive in seeking growth opportunities.

The EssilorLuxottica chairman has a net worth of $27.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire index. He is seeking to diversify his fortune into finance, which typically delivers higher returns than the eye-wear industry.

The bank’s fiscal third-quarter profit growth was supported by investment banking and wealth management revenue. Its Chief Executive Alberto Nagel said in a call with analysts last week that a hypothetical combination between UniCredit and Mediobanca “would make little sense for both.”

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