By Francesca Landini and Claudia Cristoferi
MILAN (Reuters) - The board of cash-strapped real estate group Risanamento
The deal to sell the company's prize assets would torpedo a joint takeover offer from U.S. businessman Tom Barrack and Risanamento's founder Luigi Zunino launched last week, sources said.
Risanamento was the biggest Italian real estate casualty of the credit crunch of 2009, when falling property prices and the end of easy bank lending made its 3 billion euro (2.4 billion pounds) debt hard to sustain.
"I am very confident that tomorrow Risanamento will sign a deal with Chelsfield," one source said.
Risanamento escaped bankruptcy when a court made Italy's biggest banks Intesa Sanpaolo
The banks, which also include Banco Popolare
"All the major issues have been cleared up," another source said, referring to legal and procedural issues that were still outstanding.
The disposal of the nine top-class properties located in the centre of Paris would help the company reduce the bulk of its 1.8 billion euro debt and cash in 230 million euros, according to preliminary details given for the transaction by Chelsfield.
The Paris assets lured Zunino who teamed up with U.S. businessman Tom Barrack, owner of investment fund Colony Capital, to launch a takeover offer for the whole company. Risanamento has yet to respond to the offer.
Colony Capital said it would pay 0.20 euros for each Risanamento share held by the banks and would then offer remaining shareholders 0.25 euros per share.
The cash component of the offer was worth around 167 million euros in total, below Risanamento's current stock market value of 181 million euros according to Thomson Reuters data.
The offer also included sweeteners in the form of a pledge to take on part of Risanamento's debt as well as the purchase of a Paris property for 195 million euros.
Colony Capital, owned and founded by U.S. investor Tom Barrack, said the deal would also involve the transfer of some assets and liabilities to the banks.
Shares in Risanamento rose last week 24 percent to reach a peak of 0.2470 euros after the offer was made public. Profit taking then pushed the share down to close at 0.2230 euros on Friday evening.
The stock closed on Wednesday at 0.2210 euros, well under the offer price.
(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)