MILAN, June 3 (Reuters) - Leonardo Del Vecchio has no intention of steering Generali towards a cross-border merger with rivals AXA or Zurich as he seeks regulatory approval to double his stake in the Italian insurer’s top investor Mediobanca, a source close to Del Vecchio said.
The eyewear billionaire has filed a request with the European Central Bank to raise his Mediobanca stake to as much as 20% from just below 10% at present.
His move has raised alarm in Rome that he may eventually seek a tie-up for Generali with rivals such as France’s AXA or Switzerland’s Zurich, distancing Italy’s top insurer from his home turf and weakening the support it can provide to the country’s public debt.
A source close to the 85-year-old founder of Ray-Ban owner Luxottica said Del Vecchio had no such plans for Generali, though he intended to restore the leading position the group once enjoyed in the European insurance market. (Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; writing by Valentina Za; editing by Gavin Jones)