Italian investment group Borletti is in exclusive negotiations with Deutsche Bank's real estate arm, Rreef, to acquire its stake in French department store chain Printemps.

Printemps is 70% owned by Rreef with Borletti accounting for the remaining 30% of its capital. It reported a 2011 turnover of EUR1.45bn (US$1.9bn).

A statement issued by Rreef adds that Borletti is partnered in its bid by (unidentified) Qatari investors.

Market analysts estimate the value of the deal at around EUR1.6bn and say a firm offer could be submitted in the coming weeks.

Printemps, which has 16 department stores in France, was acquired by Rreef and Borletti from PPR in 2006 for EUR 1.1bn.

Borletti and its chief, Maurizio Borletti, have overseen major renovation work at Printemps' flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris.

Rreef had planned to relinquish its shareholding in Printemps by the second half of 2014 at the latest, with Borletti having first refusal on the stake.