Generali, the Italian savings safe and 60 billion government bonds in the battle between Milan and Paris on Mediobanca

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On the one hand there is the management of Italian savingson the other a government securities assets respectable national. With these premises, General represents for Roman politics one of the last chests that the country cannot afford to lose. The Trieste group manages 468 billion of investments. It has 176 billion government bonds in its belly. Of these, over sixty billion are Italian government bonds. Just enough to keep the government on alert, which in these hours closely observes the great maneuvers taking place on Lion of Trieste and its main shareholder, Mediobanca.

With particular attention to the moves of Leonardo Del Vecchio: the founder of Luxottica in fact, he would like to increase his stake in the capital of Piazzetta Cuccia from 10 to 20 percent. The reason? A financial reorganization is underway between France is Italy which passes through Mediobanca which, paraphrasing the words of its founder Enrico Cuccia, is nothing without Generali. The stakes are therefore the control of the Trieste-based company which has always been tempted by the French of Axa.

For decades, the Lion of Trieste has been at the center of a battle between France and Italy inaugurated by Cuccia himself with the entry of the French Lazard in the capital of Mediobanca since the listing on the Stock Exchange in 1958. Since then, the French partners in Piazzetta Cuccia have never ceased to dream of the “annexation” of the company long chaired by the former banker of Lazard, Antoine Bernheim. Not without taking advantage of the privileged window in the shareholder base of the Milanese crossroads to put in place French raids in Italy such as that of Vincent Bolloré on Telecom Italia and Mediaset.

Over the years, however, the company’s flag has always been guaranteed by a hard core of Italian partners in the capital of Piazzetta Cuccia. Among these Unicredit, which however in November last year sold the entire shareholding (8%) held in Mediobanca. The operation, carried out by the French Jean Pierre Mustier, reopened the dances on the future of Piazzetta Cuccia and the Lion of Trieste. And it has reawakened the attention of Intesa that in January 2017 he tried to get his hands on the Trieste company with an operation that was blocked by the CEO of Generali, the French Philippe Donnet.

But it aroused great interest in Roman politics because the union of the first Italian bank and the Trieste company would have led to the birth of a giant of managed savings from 800 billion. The operation would also have come within a few days of Unicredit’s decision to sell the management company Pioneer French way Amundi. A bitter bite for Rome: “The government had even prepared a wall to prevent Pioneer, the company from the managed savings of Unicredit ended, as it is ending, to the French of Amundi – he remembers The Republic December 19, 2016 -. The consortium of Poste-Anima-Cassa Deposits and Loans it was considered the last bulwark against the invasion, after both Generali and Intesa Sanpaolo, for different reasons, had renounced since the preliminary stages. But it went wrong. ”

It is at this point in history, in full swing economic crisis post Covid, which Del Vecchio has decided to launch a new assault through Mediobanca. The outcome of the operation is still to be written, but there are those who are ready to bet that the owner of Luxottica will move in harmony with the French, together with Unicredit and the publisher of the Corriere della Sera, Urban Cairo. On the opposite front, there would be Intesa, Unipol and Mediobanca itself for a large one system operation. The target? Maintaining not only the thriving Italian asset management business at home and maintaining control of a company that invests heavily in Italian government bonds.

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