October 25, 2019 / 3:29 PM / 19 days ago

Italy's Del Vecchio rounds up stake in Mediobanca to 7.5%: sources

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio slightly raised his stake in Mediobanca (MDBI.MI) to around 7.5% ahead of the investment bank’s Oct. 28 annual shareholder meeting, two sources close to the situation said on Friday.

Del Vecchio, the 84-year-old chairman of eye-wear giant EssilorLuxottica (ESLX.PA), rattled Italian finance last month when he unexpectedly became Mediobanca’s third biggest investor, snapping up a stake of 6.94% in the venerable merchant bank.

He has urged Mediobanca to build its investment banking business and grow through M&A, relying less on consumer credit and its most prized asset - a stake in Italy’s top insurer Generali (GASI.MI).

But Mediobanca CEO Alberto Nagel, who is due to present a new business plan on Nov. 12, told a conference call on Thursday that his growth strategy was based on organic assumptions and defended the bank’s expansion into consumer credit and wealth management.

Del Vecchio is not expected to attend Mediobanca’s shareholder meeting on Monday in person but an official representing him will be present.

Mediobanca shareholders meet to approve annual results and other ordinary issues such as remuneration policies.

Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Claudia Cristoferi; editing by Silvia Aloisi

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