The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Mediobanca - The emperor strikes back

For five decades, a small Milan bank has wielded power over Italian finance and industry. It has anointed and toppled bosses, fostered and blocked mergers, and defeated every attack on its influence. Its secretive machinations have infuriated supporters of transparent markets. In recent years, Mediobanca was presumed in decline as the world around it modernized. But in 1999 the firm struck back, steering the consolidation of Italian finance in its favour with help from its patriarch, Enrico Cuccia. Yet even in its year of triumph, Mediobanca faces a worsening internal split: between an old guard obsessed with power and intrigue, and a young investment-banking team who want to be less Cesare Borgia, more Goldman Sachs. Marcus Walker reports

On the move: Braggiotti

On Thursday 28 October, Vincenzo Maranghi was in full conciliatory flow. The chief executive of Mediobanca told his shareholders' annual assembly that the bank had only friends. Relations with the Agnelli family of Turin were "extraordinary". There was no rift with the Lazard group either. And Mediobanca wouldn't dream of trying to control the affairs of its own largest shareholder, Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI). The notion that Mediobanca had been fighting wars on several fronts was invented by Maranghi's pet hate: the press. The lanky chief executive used the colourful word untorelli, an untranslatable literary reference likening journalists to malicious spreaders of the bubonic plague in 16th-century Milan.


In reality, Maranghi has not so much won friends this year as battered all his enemies into weary submission with a series of vintage intrigues. The only part of Mediobanca accumulating friends is the section that does conventional investment banking in open markets. "The fact is that they are the best in Italy," says a senior banker from a global house who has worked with Mediobanca on equity deals.


You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree