Berlusconi's son joins Medusa board


ROME -- Mediaset vp Pier Silvio Berlusconi, the son of media tycoon and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, will take a seat on the board of directors of film production and distribution company Medusa, the company said Tuesday.

Mediaset announced July 3 that ownership of Medusa would be shifted from the Fininvest holding company the elder Berlusconi controls to Mediaset for €152 million ($205 million) plus a percentage of the gross on Medusa films distributed over the next 12 months. That deal became final Tuesday.

Although it was largely a paper transaction -- Fininvest also owns 36% of Mediaset and the elder Berlusconi is the leading shareholder in both Fininvest and Mediaset -- the deal is significant because it further strengthens Mediaset's role as a content producer. In May, the company led a consortium that bought 75% of Dutch reality television producer Endemol.

Under terms of the deal, Medusa's board was required to step down. On July 3, it was announced that Carlo Rossella had resigned as editor of Mediaset news program "TG5" to take over as Medusa's chairman and that veteran Italian film industry player Giampaolo Letta would stay on as deputy chairman and managing director.

Tuesday's move means that the younger Berlusconi will sit on the board along with Rossella, Letta and three more members: Giuliano Adreani, a Mediaset director and the head of ad firm Publitalia; Marco Giordani, Mediaset's head of business development; and Francesco Barbaro, a former director of publishing giant Mondadori.

The appointments take effect immediately.
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