Milan - The Pininfarina family agreed to sell its stake in the company, the designer of iconic cars for films and Ferrari, in a deal that helps the group handle its nearly 600 million euros debt.
The brand, another casualty of world recession as car orders slow, confirmed in a statement that a draft accord had been signed with banks.
The company had earlier said the family's holding Pincar had agreed with creditor banks to sell its 50.6% stake and would choose an adviser by February 28, 2009 as part of the deal.
As part of the agreement, 180 million euros of debt will be assumed by Pincar to give Pininfarina the working capital it needs for 2009.
The deal has to be implemented by the end of January. Without the deal, 2008 losses would have wiped out the company's capital.
At the end of November 2008, net debt was 597.7 million euros.
The potential buyer of Pincar Holding's stake will have to launch a bid on the remaining stake in Pininfarina.
Creditor banks, which include Italy's biggest lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, will get the lesser of the price Pincar receives from the sale of the 50.6% stake or the 180 million euros plus interest.
Tragedy hit the company in August when its chairman and chief executive, Andrea Pininfarina, died in a motorcycle crash. He was the grandson of the founder, Battista "Pinin" Farina.
The company has designed vehicles for Italy's leading car maker Fiat and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi described the family as a "dynasty that helped bring the story of 'made in Italy' to the world."