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Market Cap £52.73bn
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Mediobanca investor dismisses proposal to distribute Generali stake

Thu 2nd July, 2020 7:57am
MILAN, July 2 (Reuters) - Italian insurer Unipol  UNPI.MI ,
a top 10 investor in Mediobanca, said it opposed a proposal by
an activist investor to distribute the investment bank's stake
in insurance group Generali  GASI.MI  among its shareholders.
    Unipol Chief Executive Carlo Cimbri told Thursday's edition
of La Repubblica that the proposal by activist investor Bluebell
Partners to carve up Mediobanca's 13% stake in Generali in the
form of a special dividend was "meaningless".
    "By doing so you reduce Mediobanca's assets and make it
weaker at a time when even the ECB has asked not to distribute
dividends so as not to affect the capital," he said.
    In a letter sent to Mediobanca  MDBI.MI  on Monday, Bluebell
criticised the bank's management and said it should pay an
extraordinary dividend to shareholders by redistributing the
stake held in Generali. 
    Bluebell's move comes as Italian billionaire Leonardo Del
Vecchio has requested European Central Bank clearance to raise
his Mediobanca holding to up to 20%, fuelling speculation of a
shake-up involving Generali in which Mediobanca is the single
largest investor.
    Unipol has a stake of 1.96% in Mediobanca, according to a
watchdog filing. 
    A source close to Del Vecchio, who also has a separate 4.8%
stake of his own in Generali, has said he aims to restore the
leading position Generali had in Europe in the 1990s, but his
plans did not include a cross-border merger.
    Cimbri said it was not clear to him what the purpose of Del
Vecchio's move might be.

 (Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro; Editing by James Mackenzie and
Edmund Blair)
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