September 4, 2015 / 5:26 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Italian property company Prelios is M&A target, says CEO

(Recasts, adds detail and CEO comment)

MILAN, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Italy’s Prelios is a potential merger or acquisition target, its CEO said on Friday as the property company detailed a plan to spin off real estate investments to cut debt and focus on its core services business.

Prelios, once part of industrial group Pirelli, is going through a shareholder reshuffle and Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported last month that U.S. private investment firm Starwood Capital, George Soros’s Quantum Strategic Partners fund and property company CBRE Group have informally expressed interest in buying significant stakes.

“You have to ask shareholders ... anyway, the company is a target,” Prelios CEO Sergio Iasi said on an analyst call when asked about recent media speculation.

Some Prelios board members are selling their stakes in the business to fellow investors Pirelli, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, which are also creditors of the company.

To reflect the imminent reshuffle the entire board will resign after an Oct. 16 shareholder meeting to approve a 66.5 million euro ($74 million) rights issue, the company said on Friday.

Prelios said that Pirelli, Intesa and UniCredit have committed to subscribe to the capital increase, adding that it will take place by the end of January and that most of the proceeds will be used to reduce debt.

The company expects to retain a 70-85 percent stake in its real estate investment business after it is carved out into a separate entity called Centaur.

Pirelli and the two banks will have a majority voting stake in Centaur, which will take on 150 million euros of Prelios debt and hold assets with a net book value of 226 million euros, Prelios said. ($1 = 0.9003 euros) (Reporting by Francesca Landini and Elisa Anzolin; Editing by David Goodman)

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