MILAN, March 22 (Reuters) - Italian mid-tier regional lenders Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca are set to extend a settlement offer to their shareholders that was due to expire on Wednesday by a few more days, a source close to the matter said.
The offer's deadline is likely to be extended to March 25 or March 27, the source said, confirming a report in financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore.
The offer is meant to stave off the risk of lawsuits against the two banks, which are being probed by prosecutors over the alleged mis-selling of shares to retail investors.
The lenders are proposing to repay 169,000 shareholders, who bought stock in the last 10 years, around 15 percent of investment losses if they agree not to pursue legal action.
Reducing legal risks is a necessary condition for a state bailout of the two banks Italy is discussing with European authorities, a source with direct knowledge of the matter has said.
Reporting by Andrea Mandala, writing by Silvia Aloisi