a media industry resource

Berlusconi: landmarks


This chronology is indicative only. It covers -

  • beginnings
  • Canale 5 and Retequattro (1980)
  • La Cinq and La Standa (1986)
  • Forza Italia (1993)
  • Citizen Berlusconi? (2001)

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.


1936 Silvio Berlusconi born

1960 Corte Costituzionale rules that state broadcaster RAI monopoly is unconstitutional

1962 Berlusconi establishes real estate development company Cantieri Riuniti Milanesi

1963 establishes Edilnord property and construction group, builds residential district at Brugherio

1965 marries Carla Dell'Oglio

1969 builds Milano 2 residential development, later builds Milano 3 and Il Girasole developments

1973 founds cable television station Telemilano to service Milano 2

1974 Telemilano starts operation

1975 establishes Fininvest holding group

1976 Corte Costituzionale ruling allows local radio and television

1977 Berlusconi buys 12% of Il Giornale

1978 founds 'virtual' national television network - local stations simultaneously broadcast the same programs

1978 buys Milan's Teatro Manzoni

1979 increases Il Giornale stake to 38%, later gains all shares

Canale 5 and Retequattro

1980 launches Canale 5 television network

1980 Rete Italia establishes Publitalia advertising company

1982 launches Programma Italia financial services company

1983 buys Italia Uno television network from Rusconi publishing group for 30 billion lire

1983 sells 49% of Il Giornale to Fininvest

1984 buys Retequattro television network from Arnoldo Mondadori publishing group

1984 prime minister Craxi's 'Berlusconi Decree' overturns court order banning Berlusconi from broadcasting

1984 Programma Italia buys Mediolanum Assicurazioni insurance company

1985 marries Carla Dell'Oglio

1985 buys stake in Mondadori publishing group

1985 buys cinema chain

La Cinq and La Standa

1985 launches La Cinq tv network in France in partnership with Jerome Seydoux

1986 Seydoux leaves La Cinq following elections, replaced by Robert Hersant

1986 Berlusconi becomes chair of AC Milan soccer club, with most equity in club

1987 involved in Telefunf network in Germany

1988 buys La Standa department store group

1989 takes stake in Telecinco network in Spain with Kirch

1990 Legge Mammi creates Berlusconi/RAI duopoly

1990 Berlusconi marries Veronica Lario

1990 Hersant and Berlusconi withdraw from La Cinq

1990 bitter fight with de Benedetti for control of Mondadori publishing group and la Repubblica

1991 buys Mondadori

1992-94 shrugs off bribery, tax fraud and creative accounting litigation during the Tagentopoli ("Bribesville") investigations

Forza Italia

1993 forms populist Forza Italia party

1994 Forza Italia becomes largest bloc in national parliament

1994 Belusconi becomes PM, with Forza Italia in coalition with neo-fascist Alleanza Nazionale and Northern League, but resigns at end of year

1994 Fininvest spins off media and advertising assets into Mediaset

1995 sells 20% stake in Mediaset to Kirch (10%) and others for US$1.1 billion

1996 reduces Mediaset stake to under 50% through a public flotation, with Berlusconi getting around US$550m through share sale

1998 sells La Standa's discount store arm (167 locations)

1999 Epsilon MediaGroup established as 50% partnership with Kirch

2000 Mediolanum pays €470m for 2% stake in Mediobanca

Citizen Berlusconi?

2001 becomes PM again

2001 Mediaset buys Radio Italia (national commercial radio network), advertising agency Editoriale Sper, syndication company CNR and news agency AGR

2001 sells 9% stake in mobile phone operator Blu

2005 Berlusconi reduces stake in Mediaset to 34% with sale of 16.7% interest for €2 billion

2006 loses election and ceases to be Italian Prime Minister

2006 Mondadori agrees to buy Emap France (magazine operations including Le Film Francais, Tele Star and Tele Poche) from EMAP for £380m

2007 Mediaset, John de Mol and Goldman Sachs pay US$3.56bn for Telefonica's 75% in Endemol NV