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(Refiles to remove "hold" tag in headline)
MILAN/FRANKFURT, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Germany's Uniper has hired Goldman Sachs to sell its stake in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Italy, a deal that could value the whole business at 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), three people familiar with the deal told Reuters.
Books have been opened for due diligence on OLT Offshore LNG Toscana's business and a deal could materialise in the first half of 2017, the people said, also adding that there was no guarantee that a sale would take place.
Energy firm Uniper holds a 48.24 percent stake in the OLT terminal, while Italian utility group Iren owns 49.07 percent. The remaining 2.69 percent stake is held by U.S.-based shipping group Golar LNG.
Uniper, Goldman Sachs, OLT and Iren declined to comment. Golar LNG was not immediately available for comment. ($1 = 0.9247 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, Christoph Steitz, Arno Schuetze, Tom Kaeckenhoff and Alexander Huebner)