Italy - Personal background



Silvio Berlusconi was born on 29 September 1936 in Milan. His father was a bank clerk and his mother was a housewife. Although he studied law (writing a thesis in advertising) at the University of Milan, he drifted among various jobs until, at the age of 23, he began his career as a real estate developer. Berlusconi became the country's largest developer of residential and retail properties. In 1974, he bought a television station, Telemilano Cavo. This move rapidly evolved into ownership of additional stations, leading in 1984 to the formation of the Medialist Group, which includes Italy's top three commercial television networks. In the 1980s, Berlusconi expanded his development of commercial television to France, Germany, and Spain. In parallel with his interests in television, Berlusconi entered the publishing business, purchasing and becoming the nation's largest publisher of newspapers, books, and magazines. He also branched into banking, insurance, and financial services through his holding company, the Fininvest Group. In 1986, Berlusconi became chairman of the professional soccer team A.C. Milan, which subsequently won many national and international titles, including two World Club, three Champion's League, and five National League championships.

Forbes magazine lists Silvio Berlusconi as the forty-fifthrichest man in the world in 2002, and the third-most-powerful billionaire, after Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Twice married, he has five children, two of whom hold key positions in his various business holdings.

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