UniCredit and Piazzetta Cuccia, Intesa Sanpaolo remains at the window


Farewell to Mediobanca

Messina does not intend to fill the space left by Mustier in Piazzetta Cuccia

of Al.G.

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The exit of UniCredit from Mediobanca's capital, and more generally from the decision-making chain that reaches Generali, marks the end of a historic financial axis that has linked the three financial groups for decades. Without going back in time to the era in which the Mediobanca of Enrico Cuccia ruled in Trieste with the help of Andre Meyer's Lazard, a chain of command existed for almost twenty years that starting from the largest shareholder foundations of UniCredit (CariVerona and CRT ) arrived at the bank and from there in Mediobanca and then in Generali.

A world from which the Banca Intesa presided by Giovanni Bazoli and its shareholder foundations, starting from the Cariplo led for over two decades by Giuseppe Guzzetti, has always been kept out, limiting the relations to the Insurance Alliance of Alfonso Desiata (who did not become president of Generali for the opposition of the then Mediobanca).

After the death of Enrico Cuccia in 2000, prolonged was instead the pressing of Fondazione CariVerona – financially mediated by Merrill Lynch – for a direct rapprochement between UniCredit and Generali. An attempt never succeeded, both because of the hostility of the governments of the time and because of the "environmental" difficulties in changing the balance of power among the giants of the Italian financial system.

The era of conflicts between the UniCredit world and the Intesa world has been over for some time, thanks to the entry into the scene of the ECB Supervision and the new capital regulation that obliges banks to think about the core business and limit shareholdings. Almost three years ago the last attempt to aggregate Generali into a new and different Italian maxi-pole was staged with the so-called «case study» of Intesa Sanpaolo. The UniCredit-Mediobanca supply chain was compact in hindering the operation that, in truth, Intesa Sanpaolo withdrew after verifying that the disadvantages would have been superior to the advantages industrially.

Now the gap left by UniCredit in Mediobanca's shareholding will be "filled" in some way by Intesa Sanpaolo? The suggestion has circulated in the city of Milan. Had it happened ten or twenty years ago, probably the Bazoli-Guzzetti axis would have pushed for this to happen. Those times have changed and the hypothesis of an Intesa involvement seems destined to remain among the suggestions that inevitably echo the financial battles. Obviously Intesa Sanpaolo is monitoring the events, as is normal for the largest bank-insurance group in a sector in which 3-4 big players operate. But as far as the Sole24Ore is concerned, Intesa Sanpaolo will remain spectator of the match.

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