Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#203 Silvio Berlusconi $7.58B

Random fact: Has described himself as the most persecuted man in history.


Italy's former prime minister controls Fininvest, a Milan-based investment company. The closely held business has stakes in companies including Italian broadcaster Mediaset, publisher Arnoldo Mondadori, Molecular Medicine and Banca Mediolanum. Fininvest had revenue of 5.1 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in 2016.

As of June 18, 2018:
Last change -$31.6M (-0.4%)
YTD change -$915M (-10.8%)
Industry Media & Telecom
Biggest asset Cash
Citizenship Italy
Age 81
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Silvio Berlusconi's net worth of $7.58B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Berlusconi's fortune is derived from Fininvest, a closely held Milan-based investment entity whose companies had revenue of 5.1 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in 2016, according to the company's annual report. He owns 62.5 percent of the company, and his five children each control roughly 7.5 percent of the company, according to data from Bureau van Dijk. Berlusconi is credited with full ownership of Fininvest in this analysis to reflect his status as founder.

Fininvest owns 39.5 percent of broadcast company Mediaset, 53 percent of publishing house Mondadori, 30 percent of Banca Mediolanum, 23 percent of biotechnology business Molecular Medicine and 2 percent of investment bank Mediobanca, all of which are publicly traded.

He holds other closely held assets, including Milan's Teatro Manzoni; Alba Servizi Aerotrasporti, an airport transportation operation; and fund-management company Fininvest Gestione Servizi. These assets, which are controlled directly and through Fininvest, aren't valued because they have a negative combined net financial position as reported in the company's 2016 annual report. 

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, insider transactions, taxes and market performance.


Birthdate: 9/29/1936
Family: Married, 5 children
Education: Universita DI Milano, Bachelor's Degree, Law

Berlusconi was born in Milan, the first of three children, in 1936. His father, Luigi, was a bank employee and his mother a housewife. He attended secondary school at Salesian, and graduated from the University of Milan with a degree in advertising in 1961. He performed as a crooner on cruise ships and, in college, formed a group with pianist Fedele Confalonieri, who is now chairman of the billionaire's broadcast holding, Mediaset.

Berlusconi began his business career in real estate in the late 1960s, his largest project being the construction of Milano Due, a 4,000-unit residential apartment complex east of Milan. He sold out of the venture in the early 1970s, and used the profits to invest in his first media venture, Telemilano, a cable television channel that served one of his smaller housing developments.

He formed Fininvest, his first media holding company in 1978. He had created Italy's first national private network, the first to compete with the state-owned national network, RAI, which at the time held a statutory monopoly, two years later. He had expanded the network with the acquisitions of the channels Italia 1 and Rete 4 and, in October 1984, with the help of a political ally, Bettino Craxi, won the legal right for restricted national transmission. The channels received the status of full national TV channels, which included the right to broadcast news and political commentary, in 1990. He began diversifying his holdings through Fininvest, building a portfolio that includes interests in publishing, insurance, medical technology and banking. In 1986, he acquired the A.C. Milan soccer team, saving it from bankruptcy.

As head of the conservative Forza Italia party, he became prime minister for the first time in 1994. He served has the country's leader three times since then. He resigned during the European debt crisis, in 2011. The next year, while at the helm of the center-right Il Popolo della Liberta party, he criticized Italy's austerity measures and is leading a conservative attempt to reclaim power.

Berlusconi has been accused of having mafia ties during the early stages of his career. He was later criticized for comments he made as Italy's prime minister in 2001 that were derogatory toward Muslims, and faced charges that he paid for sex with a minor during parties in his Sardinia estate's "Bunga Bunga" room. He denies the accusations, which he has said are politically motivated, according to a May 13, 2013 Bloomberg News report. He was convicted for tax fraud in 2012.

Berlusconi, who has been married twice, lives in Milan. Fininvest is led by his oldest daughter, Marina. He does not have an active management role.

  • 1936 Silvio Berlusconi is born in Milan, the oldest of three children.
  • 1961 Graduates from the University of Milan with an advertising degree.
  • 1971 Launches local television company Telemilano, which later becomes Mediaset.
  • 1993 Founds Forza Italia, his own political party.
  • 1994 Wins first election victory and forms a coalition government.
  • 2007 Forms Il Popolo della Liberta, a new center-right political party.
  • 2008 Named prime minister a third time; apologizes for colonial brutality.
  • 2012 Convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to one year in prison.
  • 2013 Leads conservative coalition in Italian national elections.
  • 2013 Found guilty of paying a minor for sex; later acquitted.