The Fininvest Group History

milano fininvest

The Fininvest Group history is first and foremost a success story. Brainchild of Silvio Berlusconi’s genius, the Group has established itself among the leaders of Italian entrepreneurship over the last half century.


After graduating from university, Silvio Berlusconi dived into his first project – housing construction. He kicked off his real estate business by building condos in Via Alciati in Milan.

In 1963 he founded Edilnord, which started the construction site in Brugherio in 1964, built Milano Due, in Segrate, between 1970 and 1979 and Milano Tre, in the Municipality of Basiglio, south of Milan, between 1980 and 1991.

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On March 21st, Silvio Berlusconi established Fininvest S.r.l. in Rome.

On November 11th Fininvest changed its legal form from società a responsabilità limitata (limited liability company) into società per azioni (joint stock company) and moved its headquarters to Milan, taking over Berlusconi’s Milanese companies.


Silvio Berlusconi fully acquired Telemilano, established in 1974 as the CCTV (closed-circuit television) of Milano Due residential district.


The title of Cavaliere del Lavoro – Knight of the Order of Merit of Labor, an Italian order of chivalry – was bestowed upon Silvio Berlusconi by Giovanni Leone, the President of the Italian Republic.

In the same year, Berlusconi acquired a stake in the Società Europea di Edizioni, publisher of Il Giornale, the newspaper founded in 1974 by Indro Montanelli. He has gradually increased his stake over the following years


Telemilano switched from cable to Over-The-Air (OTA) television and became Telemilano 58, starting broadcasting throughout Lombardy.

In the same year Silvio Berlusconi acquired Teatro Manzoni, one of the most famous theatres in Milan. On June 8th, Fininvest Rome S.r.l. was established.


On January 26th, Fininvest Roma S.r.l. incorporated Fininvest S.p.A., a Milan-based joint stock company, adopting its company name. Besides, Reteitalia, a company specialized in purchasing and trading of television programs, and Publitalia ’80, an advertising dealer, were established.

In the same year, Silvio Berlusconi entered into partnership with Adriano Galliani, the owner of Elettronica Industriale, which owned systems for the broadcast and repetition of television signals of foreign broadcasters airing programs in Italy. Meanwhile, Mike Bongiorno, the popular Italian public TV host, joined Telemilano – a key turning point for the private tv channel.


Berlusconi and Galliani acquired 16 broadcasters throughout Italy, which became part of the network program broadcasting system. Telemilano was turned into Canale 5, which began broadcasting nationwide.


Canale 5 was assigned the rights to broadcast Mundialito, the football tournament featuring the winners of the World Cup – the public television would have broadcast Italian national team matches, while Canale 5 would have broadcast the other matches. For the first time in history state television came to terms with private television. In the same year, Silvio Berlusconi met Ennio Doris at the Marina in Portofino.


Programma Italia, a company operating in the financial intermediary sector, was established, jointly owned by the Fininvest Group and Ennio Doris.

berlusconi e doris


Programma Italia, a company operating in the financial intermediary sector, was established, jointly owned by the Fininvest Group and Ennio Doris.


Retequattro television network was acquired from Mondadori, then controlled by Mario Formenton. The Group thus became the owner of three tv channels – as many as the Italian state TV. While consolidating its position in the television market, the Group acquired Mediolanum Assicurazioni, the aim being to pursue diversification in financial services.
In the meanwhile, Drive In made its debut on Italia 1 – a huge success that made it a cult tv show.


Fininvest acquired a stake in Mondadori share capital, just one year after the acquisition of Retequattro from Mondadori.

segrate mondadori fininvest


The Group entered the world of football and acquired AC Milan from Giuseppe Farina, an Italian entrepreneur. In a few years Milan became one of the most famous football teams in the world.
In the same year, Fininvest established La Cinq in France, of which it held 60% stakes – the Group business expansion overseas had begun.


In Germany, Fininvest launched Telefünf.


Standa, one of the major large-scale distribution operators, was acquired from Ferruzzi – Montedison Group. The acquisition was underpinned by a synergy creation strategy involving the retail store chain and TV. To the purpose, an advertising campaign was launched – over 1,500 advertising spots introduced Standa as ‘the House of the Italians’.


Fininvest took part into the foundation of Telecinco, a Spanish television station. In a few years Telecinco successful tv shows proved to be able to gain the general audience, thus making Telecinco one of the most profitable commercial televisions in Europe.

In the same year, the stake held by Fininvest in Società Europea di Edizioni, publisher of Il Giornale, the newspaper, was sold to the Group led by Paolo Berlusconi further to provisions set forth under Italian law 223/1990, known as Mammì law.


Arnoldo Mondadori Editore joined the Fininvest Group, an acquisition in line with the process of focusing on publishing and communications sectors.

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La Cinq, whose majority shareholding in the meantime was transferred to Hachette, ended its broadcasts.


Medusa Film was established – in a few years, the film production and distribution company has become a leading company in the sector in Italy.


Mediaset and Mediolanum were listed on Milan Stock Exchange. Both placements were successful: over 300,000 new investors bought the company shares.


Mediolanum added banking services to its offer, thus transforming Programma Italia Investimenti Sim P.A. into Banca Mediolanum, one of the most innovative Italian home – or internet – banking service providers, for sure the first one to take advantage of the interconnection between telephone and home television teletext.

banca mediolanum fininvest


With a view to focusing on the Group core business, Standa department stores were sold.

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Mediadigit was established to develop the new media sector. TGCOM, Mediaset online news, was one of the major initiatives on the web.

Banca Mediolanum landed in Spain to replicate the Italian operating model and acquired the Fibanc Banking Group.


The Group kept on pursuing its concentration strategy focussed on entertainment and communications and quitted real estate with the sale of Edilnord 2000.

The Mediolanum Group continued its European expansion through the acquisition of Gamax Holding AG in Germany and Bankhaus August Lenz & Co. in Austria.


Mediaset stake in Publiespana and Telecinco, the most important Spanish commercial television at the moment, climbed to 52%.


Fininvest acquired a stake in Molmed share capital. The medical biotechnology company, founded within the San Raffaele hospital, has always been focused on innovation in cancer therapeutics.

In June, Telecinco was listed on Madrid Stock Exchange. According to financial analysts, ‘it is one of the most successful placements in recent years’.


The Fininvest Group entered the radio sector through the acquisition of R101, the nationwide radio broadcaster, by Mondadori. Mediaset TV broadcasting offer widened – pay-per-view was introduced to make major Italian live football events could be viewed via Mediaset TV digital terrestrial platform through innovative pay-per-view Mediaset Premium services.


Mondadori took a major step toward international development by acquiring Emap France, later renamed Mondadori France, a leading French magazine and newspaper publisher with a portfolio of about 30 newspapers.


Fininvest increased its stake in Mediobanca and entered the syndication agreement with a 1% share.

Meanwhile, Mediaset and Telecinco, together with important partners, acquired Endemol, a leading fiction and entertainment content provider operating worldwide.


Telecinco entered the North American Spanish-speaking market by purchasing a 29.2% stake in Caribevision broadcaster.

Premium Gallery, the new pay-per-view offer by Mediaset, was launched – TV series, American cinema and football events could be viewed via digital terrestrial platform.


Fininvest stake in Molmed climbed to 23.95% thus making Fininvest its major shareholder.

Mondadori Pubblicità and Publitalia ’80 entered an agreement aimed at establishing Mediamond, a jointly owned online advertising sales company.

mediamond fininvest


Telecinco was transformed into Mediaset España, thus becoming the major Spanish television broadcaster through the acquisition of Cuatro, a generalist tv channel, and of a stake in DigitalPlus.

Meanwhile, Mondadori gained a foothold in the digital market, putting the largest Italian e-book library online.


Mediaset launched TGCOM24, the first unencrypted all-news tv channel available via digital terrestrial platform.

mediaset fininvest


Elettronica Industriale sold its operating assets to EI Towers, a Mediaset subsidiary company and leading nationwide operator within the sector of ECN (Electronic Communication Network) infrastructures.


Mediaset launched “Infinity”, a pay-per-view content provider offering its customers the opportunity to access streaming service to view movies, fiction, and TV shows.

Mondadori implemented an in-depth plan aimed at corporate reorganization and production process review to face publishing sector contraction trend.

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The new Mediaset Premium company was established to which all pay-per-view operations were transferred and in which Telefonica, a Spanish telephony operator, acquired an 11% stake.

Mondadori founded Mondadori Libri S.p.A., a new company, to which all stakes related to trade, art and education book operations were transferred.


Mediaset opened a new development line in radio broadcasting through the acquisition of 80% Monradio, the owner of R101, and establishing a partnership with Finelco, the first Italian radio broadcasting group parent to Radio 105, Radio Monte Carlo, and Virgin Radio. Following the merger by incorporation of Mediolanum S.p.A., Banca Mediolanum became the Mediolanum Group parent company, entering the FTSE MIB index by replacing the incorporated company.


Mondadori accomplished two important operations: the acquisition of Rizzoli Libri, which strengthened Mondadori leadership in trade publishing and made it the education sector leading publisher, and the acquisition of Banzai Media, thus making Mondadori the first Italian digital publisher. In the same year, Mondadori was listed on Borsa Italiana (Italian Stock Exchange) STAR segment. Mediaset completed RadioMediaset (Radio 105, Virgin Radio, R101) consolidation, thus making it the major Italian radio broadcasting group. In the meantime, Fininvest and Mediaset initiated a dispute with Vivendi, a French company, further to compensation claim for the failure to execute the Mediaset Premium acquisition contract and for the subsequent Mediaset share capital takeover.


Fininvest sold its stake in AC Milan to Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux owned by Li Yonghong, a Chinese entrepreneur. During the 31-year management by Fininvest, AC Milan won 29 trophies: 8 Scudetti (Italian Serie A championship), 1 Coppa Italia, 7 Italian Super Cups, 5 Champions League, 2 Intercontinental Cups, 5 UEFA Super Cups, and 1 Club World Cup.


Mediaset and F2i successfully established 2i Towers company: Mediaset managed to preserve its significant presence (40% stake in 2iTowers) in the transmission tower sector.

Mondadori continued focussing on its book core business, selling the Panorama magazine to La Verità S.r.l.

In the meantime, the Group acquired A.C. Monza football club.

monza fininvest


Mediaset launched MFE-MEDIAFOREUROPE, an international development project aimed at creating a leading pan-European broadcaster in the free TV sector able to compete with the largest players worldwide.

Moreover, the Mediaset Group acquired a 15.1% stake in German ProSiebenSat1, one of the largest European media companies.
Mondadori finalized the sale of Mondadori France and some Italian newspapers to Reworld Media.

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Mediaset voting rights in ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE share capital climbed to 29.4%.

Mondadori Media S.p.A., a Group company responsible for all operations related to magazine and digital media sector, was established.

AC Monza won group A of Italian 2019/2020 Lega Pro football championship and was promoted to Serie B.

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The Mediaset Group changed its name into MFE-MEDIAFOREUROPE and introduced a dual-class shareholding structure, thus establishing the holding company of one of the largest pan-European radio and television broadcasting hubs. The holding company located its registered office in the Netherlands and was listed on Milan and Madrid Stock Exchanges.
Mondadori acquired D Scuola, a publishing house, thus becoming the leading education publisher in Italy. Furthermore, the Group recorded the best profit since 2012 and dividends were paid to shareholders after ten years. Under an overall agreement Fininvest, Mediaset and Vivendi put an end to the reciprocal disputes.

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MFE-MEDIAFOREUROPE increased its ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE shareholding: its stake climbed to 29% share capital and voting rights to 29.9%.
The Mondadori Group acquired a 51% shareholding in Star Comics S.r.l., a leading company in the comics sector, a 50% shareholding in A.L.I. – Agenzia Libraria International and a 50% shareholding in De Agostini Libri.
110 years after its foundation, AC Monza was promoted to Serie A for the first time.
Teatro Manzoni celebrated its first 150 years of history.

mondadori fininvest


On June 12th, Silvio Berlusconi, founder of the Fininvest Group, passed away. His two eldest children accepted their father’s legacy: Marina and Pier Silvio jointly assumed indirect control over Fininvest.

MFE-MEDIAFOREUROPE completed the cross-border merger by incorporation of Mediaset España Comunicación, S.A.
The Mondadori Group sold Grazia and Icon magazines to Reworld Media and its stake in Società Europea di Edizioni, the Il Giornale newspaper publisher, to Tosinvest.

berlusconi il fondatore storia
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