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What Was Italy’s 4-Time Prime Minister and Media Mogul Silvio Berlusconi's Net Worth?

Berlusconi's wealth was amassed through ownership of prominent Italian companies, including the prosperous soccer club AC Milan.
Silvio Berlusconi at the Mediaset TV headquarters on February 1992 in Milan, Italy. Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Silvio Berlusconi at the Mediaset TV headquarters on February 1992 in Milan, Italy. Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Name Silvio Berlusconi
Net Worth $7.6 billion
Gender Female
DOB September 29, 1936
DOD June 12, 2023
Age (at the time of death) 86 
Nationality Italy 
Profession  Media Tycoon, Politician, Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi passed away in June 2023, leaving a vast business empire. Berlusconi built his wealth through his Italian companies, as well as the soccer club AC Milan. However, he left no indication in his lifetime about who would take over his wealth after his death, per The Guardian. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimated Berlusconi's net worth to be $7.6 billion at the time of his death, CNN Business reported.

Image Source:  Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attends the Italy-France Summit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Villa Madama on April 26, 2011 in Rome, Italy. The two leaders discussed the immigration crisis and the possible opening of nuclear power plants among other topics during the Italy-France summit/Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attends the Italy-France Summit. Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images

Media mogul

Berlusconi, Italy's four-time prime minister, ventured into politics at the age of 57. He was a property developer in the late 1960s before becoming a media mogul. During the 1970s, he diversified his business portfolio by establishing Telemilano, a TV cable company, and acquiring two other cable channels in Italy. These channels were later amalgamated into Fininvest, a family-holding company founded in 1978. Through Fininvest, he secured significant stakes in major European media firms and became the owner of AC Milan.

As of the end of 2021, Berlusconi reportedly held a 61.3% stake in Fininvest, which is the largest shareholder of MediaForEurope (formerly Mediaset) with a 48% stake, per Reuters. This broadcasting company, with a market capitalization of €1.6 billion ($1.7 billion), operates commercial TV channels in Italy and Spain and owns a substantial share in Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1, per CNN Business.

Additionally, Fininvest possesses a 53% stake in Mondadori, Italy’s leading publisher of books and magazines. In 2017, after 31 years of ownership, Fininvest sold AC Milan for a reported €740 million ($796 million).

Image Source: Wealthy Italian businessman Silvio Berlusconi boards his private plane before leaving Paris for Milan. In 1994, Berlusconi served briefly as Italian prime minister until he was ousted after being charged with bribing judges during a 1986 business deal./ THIERRY ORBAN/Sygma via Getty Images
Silvio Berlusconi aboard his private plane. THIERRY ORBAN/Sygma via Getty Images

After establishing a real estate, soccer and television empire in the 1970s and 1980s, Berlusconi entered politics, becoming prime minister four times -- 1994-95, 2001-05, 2005-06 and 2008-11.

In the early 1990s, corruption scandals hit pro-Western parties in Italy, causing a decline in voter support. Seeing an opportunity, Berlusconi announced the formation of his party, Forza Italia, to attract voters disillusioned by the scandals. He positioned himself against the Democratic Party of the Left, successors to the Italian Communist Party. Berlusconi promised a new direction while pledging to continue pro-Western policies. Simultaneously, there were reports of imminent arrest warrants for him in connection with the corruption investigations. Throughout his political career, Berlusconi insisted that the investigations were politically motivated by communists aiming for a Soviet-style government in Italy.

Silvio Berlusconi, who had five children from two marriages, entrusted significant stakes in Fininvest to each of them. Among his children, Marina, 56, has been the chairperson of the company since 2005 and is considered the most probable successor to lead her father's extensive business empire, per The Times. Pier Silvio, 53, serves as the chief executive of MediaForEurope.

The anticipation of potential changes in ownership following Berlusconi's passing led to a surge in the company's shares, reaching as much as 10% before settling at a 2% increase. In terms of ownership within Fininvest, Marina and Pier Silvio individually possess a 7.7% stake while the three children from Berlusconi's second marriage collectively own a 21.4% stake, as reported by Reuters.

In 1986, Berlusconi took over AC Milan, transforming it into one of the world's most successful football clubs, with numerous league titles and international trophies. After selling AC Milan in 2017, he became the owner of Serie A side Monza. Notably, he holds the record as Italy's longest-serving Prime Minister post-World War II, per Marca.

Image Source:  Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves the conference centre after the first day of the G20 Summit on November 3, 2011 in Cannes, France. World's top economic leaders are attending the G20 summit / Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at the G20 Summit. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Silvio Berlusconi's mansion near Milan, known as Villa San Martino, is being considered for transformation into a museum dedicated to the controversial Italian prime minister. Acquired in the early 1970s, the 70-room estate witnessed intimate business, political meetings, and infamous "bunga bunga" parties. Adorned with artworks, including pieces by Rembrandt and Titian, and numerous portraits of Berlusconi himself, the villa holds the historic "contract with the Italians" signed on national TV. The library houses over 10,000 books, and the office showcases gifts from world leaders. The estate's vast garden features a marble containing Berlusconi's remains, where future visitors can pay their respects.

Silvio Berlusconi, born in 1936 into a middle-class family in Milan, was the eldest of three siblings. His father, Luigi Berlusconi, worked in banking, and his mother, Rosa Bossi, was a housewife. After graduating with honors in law from the University of Milan in 1961, he skipped mandatory military service. During university, he played upright bass and sang on cruise ships.

Berlusconi married Carla Elvira Dall'Oglio in 1965, with whom he had two children. In 1980, he began a relationship with Veronica Lario, marrying her in 1990. They had three children before getting divorced in 2014. Berlusconi was ordered to pay Lario $48 million annually.

He left €100 million to his 33-year-old girlfriend Marta Fascina, The Guardian reported. Fascina, a Forza Italia deputy, began a relationship with Berlusconi in March 2020. While they weren't married, Berlusconi reportedly referred to her as his ''wife'' on his deathbed.

Image Source: Silvio Berlusconi on the set of Canale 5 in Milan, where the first show of the new French television channel “La Cinq” /frederic meylan/Sygma via Getty Images
Silvio Berlusconi on the sets of Canale 5 in Milan. Frederic Meylan/Sygma via Getty Images

What was the cause of death for Silvio Berlusconi?

He died of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

How did Silvio Berlusconi make his money?

The four-time Prime Minister of Italy entered politics at 57 years old. Prior to that, he amassed a fortune as a property developer in the late 1960s and then made his name as a media tycoon.