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Fininvest, Medusa going public soon

Source sez IPO could happen before end of year

MILAN — The stock exchange listing of Silvio Berlusconi’s empire Fininvest and the group’s MedusaFilm unit is getting nearer, sources close to the media mogul said.

“Fininvest might become a public company by the end of the year,” Marcello Dell’Utri, a former top exec of the media group and a personal friend of the media tycoon, said this week.

Controlled by the Berlusconi family, Fininvest owns the majority of group Mediaset, film unit Medusa Film, publishing house Mondadori, financial services and retailing units and a stake in pay TV operation Telepiu.

A positive move

According to analysts, the public listing of Fininvest would be positive for Berlusconi, both in terms of financial return and of his image. Allegations of conflict of interest between his political role and his financial interests arestill a thorn in the tycoon’s side.

A public listing is likely to be complex because the group is controlled by some 22 holding companies.

In the meantime, Medusa Film has announced a change in its shareholding structure which is expected to make its listing easier. The company — which is the film distribution, production and exhibition arm of Berlusconi’s media empire — said that the 49% of its capital previously owned by a small real estate company in Berlusconi’s name has been transferred to Fininvest, which now has 100% of its capital.