E-House (China) Holdings Ltd. (EJ) agreed to pay $25 million under a preliminary deal that would leave the company and Century 21 China Real Estate founders with a major stake in the exclusive franchisor of the Century 21 real-estate services brand in China.

Century 21 China Chairman and Chief Executive Donald Zhang said the transaction between the two Chinese real-estate service providers would strengthen his company’s financial position during the current downturn and allow it to provide more fully intergrated services.

Under the preliminary accord, E-House would gain a 37.3% ownership stake and Century 21 China founders would receive an additional 20.5% equity stake, with their shares being financed by E-House.

Century 21 China would issue about 960 million Class A shares, or about 64 million American depositary shares, for 2.67 cents a share, or about 40 cents per ADS.

The founders of Century 21 China Real Estate own the company through an affiliate.

American depositary shares closed Friday at 38 cents each and were inactive premarket. E-House shares closed at $5.59 Friday and were inactive premarket.

In October, E-House offered to acquire China Real Estate Information Corp. (CRIC) in a cash and stock deal the real-estate services company said would help make it a one-stop shop for property developers.

Source: Dow Jones