From Bolloré to Generali

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he moving parts to a change of control of Generali seem about to fall in place. The trigger may well be Bolloré exiting Mediobanca. Generali can only benefit from a proper shareholder with a vision.

Generali and Mediobanca have a long history of being at the centre of speculation about Italian capitalism and the odd family influence game.

The French influence may well start to ebb as Bolloré SA has other priorities. This should be construed as an occasion to reassess the fundamentals of Generali.

The main objective of Mediobanca’s shareholder agreement was to guarantee a stable ownership structure and representation on the board, allowing management to have the necessary protection to implement its strategy, in other words to avoid saying protecting Generali.

The capital covered by the Mediobanca shareholding agreement has eroded, but the recent decision of Bolloré (7.9% of the capital) to disengage, taking advantage of the early exit window at the end of September came as a surprise.

By falling below the 25% threshold, the voting agreement is effectively dead. Bolloré SA/its boss has not revealed their intentions.

Vincent Bolloré has said that he will not sell the stake for the moment but he is not a man to be forced into a timing.

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