MUNICH (03/09/2000) - Deutsche Telekom AG shares fell slightly in early afternoon trading here today, following continued media speculation on whether a reported bid for U.S. carriers Qwest Communications International Inc. and US West Inc. would succeed. The reports, meanwhile, pushed Qwest and US West stock upward in the U.S.
Media reports today about the negotiations among the three carriers gave contradictory accounts on the progress of those talks.
According to a report in today's Wall Street Journal, Deutsche Telekom has made separate bids for Qwest and US West totaling roughly US$100 billion.
Quoting sources close to the companies, the WSJ said the talks could still fall apart.
In a contradictory report, the New York Times today said that the talks had actually fallen through, but said officials at Qwest were making efforts to patch them back together.
Last week, the two U.S. carriers admitted publicly that they were in talks with a major telecommunications company. Numerous media reports cited sources as saying that party was Deutsche Telekom, Germany's largest telecommunications carrier. [See "Qwest Confirms Talks with 'Major' Telco," March 6.] The reports speculated that Deutsche Telekom's moves could threaten the pending merger between Qwest and U.S. West, which is valued at roughly $50 billion.
Deutsche Telekom still has not publicly acknowledged the talks, sticking to its policy of not commenting on ongoing discussions. However, Deutsche Telekom has repeatedly stated that it is in search of an acquisition to expand its international presence. A major disappointment for Deutsche Telekom last year was its lost battle to merge with Telecom Italia SpA. Last May, Olivetti SpA won control of Telecom Italia. [See, "With Olivetti's Success, Whither Deutsche Telekom?," May 25.]In early afternoon trading in Frankfurt, Deutsche Telekom shares fell 3.26 percent to 93.55 euros. (US$89.93). In late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Qwest rose US$4.25 to $57.88, and US West rose $4.38 to $74.
Qwest, in Denver, Colorado, can be reached at +1-303-291-1400 or at http://www.qwest.com. US West, in Denver, can be reached at +1-303-896-5528 or at http://www.uswest.com/. Deutsche Telekom, in Bonn, can be reached at +49-228-181-4949, or at http://www.telekom.de.