Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire former prime minister of Italy, died Monday, leaving behind a sprawling business empire. How Berlusconi’s wealth, built through the ownership of some of Italy’s most recognizable companies, including successful soccer club AC Milan, will be split between his five children is not yet clear. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index put Berlusconi’s net worth at $7.6 billion as of Monday. So how did Italy’s longest-serving prime minister since World War II — as well as one of its most controversial — make his money? Media mogul The four-time prime minister of Italy entered politics at 57 years old. But, prior to that, he amassed a fortune as a property developer in the late 1960s, before making his name as a media tycoon. In the 1970s, he diversified his interests by setting up a TV cable company, Telemilano, and buying two other cable channels in Italy. In 1978, these channels were incorporated into his newly formed family holding company, Fininvest. It was through Fininvest that Berlusconi acquired big stakes in some of Europe’s major media firms, as well as AC Milan. Berlusconi owned a 61.3% stake in the holding company at the end of 2021, Reuters has reported. Fininvest is the largest shareholder of MediaForEurope — previously named Mediaset\n \n (MDIUY) — with a 48% stake. The broadcaster, which has a market capitalization of €1.6 billion ($1.7 billion), operates commercial TV channels in Italy and Spain, and owns a big stake in Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1\n \n (PBSFF). Fininvest also holds a 53% stake in Mondadori, Italy’s biggest publisher of books and magazines. Fininvest sold AC Milan for a reported €740 million ($796 million) in 2017 after 31 years of ownership. In a tweet Monday, the club said it was “deeply saddened” by Berlusconi’s death and grieved the “passing of the unforgettable Silvio Berlusconi.” Legal woes The political controversies embroiling Berlusconi were closely tied up with his business affairs. Over his nearly two decades in politics, he was tried on at least 17 charges, involving allegations of embezzlement, tax fraud and bribery, though he had always denied wrongdoing, and many of those cases were eventually overturned on appeal. In 2012, a Milan court convicted Italy’s former leader of tax evasion. Prosecutors found that Berlusconi, along with executives at Mediaset, bought TV rights to films and then resold them at inflated prices. The scheme allowed those involved to avoid a major tax bill, prosecutors said. What next? Berlusconi has five children from two marriages. All hold significant stakes in Fininvest, but it is his oldest child Marina, 56, who has chaired the company since 2005, and who is reportedly the most likely to take control of her father’s business empire. Pier Silvio, 53, is the chief executive of MediaForEurope. The company’s shares soared as much as 10% Monday, before falling back to trade 2% higher in the late afternoon, as investors anticipated potential changes to its ownership following Berlusconi’s death. Marina and Pier Silvio each hold a 7.7% stake in Fininvest, while Berlusconi’s three children from his second marriage jointly own a 21.4% stake, according to Reuters. — Niamh Kennedy and Sammy Mncwabe contributed reporting.