Mediobanca was set up straight after World War II on the initiative first of Banca Commerciale Italiana (now Intesa San Paolo S.p.A.), then Credito Italiano (now UniCredit) and later Banco di Roma (subsequently Capitalia, which in 2007 was merged into UniCredit), in order to "meet the medium-term financing requirements of Italian manufacturing enterprises" and to forge a "direct link between the investment community and the need for finance to rebuild Italian industry".(Banca Commerciale Italiana annual report, 1945).
At first Mediobanca confined itself to granting medium-term credit, in accordance with the regulations in force at the time, but in October 1973 a formal decision was made to extend the Bank’s operations to provide finance on terms of up to twenty years.
From early on in its history Mediobanca has been active in areas related to its own sector of operations, through its Group companies. These include Spafid (acquired in 1948), Compass (set up in 1951), Reconta (set up in 1961 and sold in 1981), and S.E.L.M.A. (now SelmaBipiemme Leasing, set up in 1970).
As part of a programme to facilitate the international development of Italian mercantile activities, Tradevco was incorporated to operate as a bank in Monrovia (Liberia) in 1954 (the company only ceased operations in 2002-03 as a result of the local wars), and Intersomer was set up to operate as a commercial company the following year (this company’s activities were strongly reduced in the 1990s and subsequently discontinued).
In March 1956 Mediobanca shares were admitted to trading on the stock market. In February 1957, a total of 100,000 shares were placed on the market at a price of Lit. 12,800. In the same years agreements were entered into with leading international banking groups (notably Lazard of Paris, London and New York; Lehman Brothers of New York; Berliner Handels Gesellschaft of Frankfurt; and Sofina), which in 1958, along with the founder banks, entered into the first Mediobanca shareholders’ agreement, among other things guaranteeing the international dimension of the Bank’s operations.
In January 1988 a new shareholder structure for the Bank was decided with the intent of redefining the equal public-private division established in the mid-1950s. In this connection the three Italian banks reduced their aggregate shareholding from 56.9% to 25% of the share capital; part of these shares (equal to 18.6%) was acquired by a group of private companies, which in this way reached an aggregate shareholding equal to that of the Italian banks, and entered into a block shareholders’ agreement with them. The remainder of the stake previously owned by the banks (which at the time were state-owned) was placed on the market in November 1988. Thereafter the block agreements were renewed, with the objective of ensuring not only a stable ownership base, but also a representative governing body able to safeguard the independence of the Bank’s operations.
In the 1990s the Group structure expanded to include new companies operating on international capital markets, in mortgage lending, structured finance and private banking.
In July 2001 Banca Esperia, a joint venture with Mediolanum. became operative. In May 2008 the name of Micos Banca was changed to CheBanca!, and banking operations in the retail segment expanded, using a multi-channel distribution model (internet, call centres and branches).
In the first decade of the new millennium, Mediobanca extended its direct international franchise, setting up branch offices in Paris (2004), Moscow and Luxembourg (2005), Frankfurt, Madrid and New York (2007), London (2008), Istanbul (2013). in 2015 CheBanca grew further acquiring a selected perimeter of Italian retail business of Barclays.
Mediobanca entering alternative AM business with the acquisition of the London based credit specialist Cairn Capital in 2015