2021 was already a busy year for the Italian insurance giant Generali, which presented its new organizational structure and put its management to the test in recent months. Reuters announced that Italian publisher Gruppo De Agostini has initiated the process of selling its 1.44% stake to Generali. However, the publisher will still be able to exercise its voting rights at the company’s next general meeting.
Reuters reported that De Agostini highlighted his appreciation for the current management of Generali and his appreciation for CEO Philippe Donnet, noting that he “stood out for his strategic vision, technical expertise and thoroughness”. Donnet, who has headed the insurer since 2016, recently came under fire from two shareholders – Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone and Leonardo Del Vecchio – who criticized its M&A strategy.
The two investors recently increased their stake in Generali, according to Reuters, with Caltagirone’s stake at nearly 7.2% of Generali while Del Vecchio’s stake is just over 5.72%. A shareholder pact that brings the two together with the Fondazione CRT bank foundation holds a little more than 14% of Generali’s shares.
However, Reuters also stated that CEO Donnet can count on the support of the majority of the board of directors and of Generali’s largest shareholder, Mediobanca – with 17.2% of the voting rights. Generali will hold a meeting in April next year, when Donnet’s term expires, at which shareholders will vote on a new board of directors.
Reuters reported on De Agostini’s statement, which highlighted that the first step in the sale of its stake in Generali was to sell over 2.2 million shares, or 0.14%, of the insurer through a derivative instrument. It also noted that it would use the funds from the sale “to pursue new investment opportunities in the near future”.