Italian Premier’s Daughter Advocates Mediaset Sale

27 July 2004

The daughter of Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister and media mogul, has spoken out against 'keeping it all in the family', in terms of the nation's television at least.

Barbara Berlusconi recently joined the board of her father's holding company, Fininvest, which dominates Italian media through its control of TV subsidiary Mediaset -- owner of the three largest commercial channels -- and interest in newspaper, magazine and book publishing.

Speaking with new-found corporate interest, Ms Berlusconi believes that: "Television is a difficult thing to manage and suffers from great instability. The point is that in a market like ours, a global one, Fininvest's investments should not be concentrated in Italy."

Referring to Mediaset's contemplated but never consummated sale to Rupert Murdoch during the 1990s, Ms Berlusconi claims she would have encouraged her father to go ahead with the deal, not least to quell criticism that he was ignoring a conflict of interest.

A 20% stake in Mediaset was sold to now-defunct German television network Kirchmedia, among others, causing Murdoch's Italian media ambitions to be channelled into the creation of satellite venture Sky Italia [WAMN:01-Aug-03].

As Mediaset goes from strength to strength -- recently snatching from the hands of Sky Italia the rights to broadcast the home matches of top Italian soccer teams -- it's blow after blow for Murdoch, following recent Q1 losses of $25 million (€20.6m; £13.6m) this year for the ailing satellite operation.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff