There is more than a background noise in Milan: the Generali match is hot

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There is more than a background noise in Milan: the Generali match is hot

But the background noise belongs to whoever does it or who tells it, after searching in vain for evidence to document it? The question might deserve the answer of Tom Hanks-Forrest Gump (“stupid is whoever does stupid”) in the famous film, if the question did not concern Generali and Mediobanca, that is, the hottest issue in Italian finance today.

Here are the facts: Morya Longo in the Sole 24 Ore of 14 September asks experts, corporate lawyers, business lawyers and maybe just passersby (since they all speak anonymously, asking not to be mentioned) if the consultation agreement between Franco Caltagirone and Leonardo Del Vecchio (holders of a total of 11 per cent of the Lion of Trieste) aimed exclusively at eliminating Philippe Donnet from the dashboard of the Trieste company can be configured as a concert also on Mediobanca, where the two entrepreneurs hold shares that added together make the 22 percent, therefore close to the mandatory takeover bid threshold which is 25 percent. The unanimous answer, albeit with some reasoning, is no. Indeed, the conclusion is certain and definitive, even if the authors to whom the responsibility is attributed do not know each other: “the game on Trieste eases the pressure on Mediobanca”.

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Now, apart from the actually unorthodox method adopted (in good faith) by the journalist and since it is difficult to understand how many of the business lawyers interviewed have working relationships with Mediobanca itself and with Alberto Nagel who leads it, the episode indicates that the guerrilla warfare on Generali is already at a level of very high penetration in the financial market itself. And the defensive move of Nagel’s anonymous friends says a lot about the level of the clash, given that Mediobanca has ruled the Trieste company for decades with only 13 percent of the shares and in the past has changed and reciprocated presidents and CEOs as if they were less than football coaches in the minor leagues.

But today a lot has changed: two very liquid (and determined) entrepreneurs have just under the same stake as Mediobanca in Trieste and have also brought their stations to the heart of Piazzetta Cuccia, with the purchases of shares made so far. And, a decisive detail, there is no longer Enrico Cuccia (his was the motto: “the Roman Empire may fall, but Generali never”) and neither is Vincenzo Maranghi. And in Milan many men of the business community, obviously in a strictly anonymous form, question themselves about the moves of those who came after. But no one has doubts about the financial capacities and objectives of Caltagirone and Del Vecchio, that the shares of Mediobanca and Generali have bought them, and even weighed them.

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