UPDATE 1-Immofinanz CEO says German property talks on track
* CEO says German property acquisition talks on track
* Buwog spin-off now far more likely than IPO
* Immofinanz to reduce Buwog voting rights to 10 percent (Adds quotes, background, shares)
VIENNA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Immofinanz hopes soon to finalise negotiations to buy 18,000 German homes from Solaia, a crucial step in its planned Buwog unit spin-off, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
"We hope we're in the final stages," Eduard Zehetner told journalists on the sidelines of a news conference. "It's still on track," he added of the deal, expected to be worth around 900 million euros ($1.22 billion).
Zehetner said many outstanding issues had been resolved in the talks it had hoped to conclude last year with seller Solaia, a joint venture of Italy's Prelios and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management.
"The seller has some homework to do, and when that's done, I can sign too," he said.
Zehetner said a spin-off to existing shareholders of Buwog, its German and Austrian residential unit, was far more likely than an initial public offering, given market conditions.
"The probability is relatively small," he said when asked whether an IPO should be ruled out. "The longer it takes, the more probable it becomes," he added.
Immofinanz wants to separate its western European residential business, to be listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, from its central and eastern European operations, to increase the value of both.
Zehetner reiterated that Immofinanz planned to spin off just over 50 percent of Buwog initially, but said it would agree to exercise only 10 percent of the voting rights, according to current planning.
He said the spin-off or IPO should take place in the first half of the year, and added that no banks had yet been mandated for any transaction.
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