Deutsche Telekom Offers to Buy Qwest, Say Reports

LONDON (03/03/2000) - Germany's largest telecommunications company, Deutsche Telekom AG, is reportedly trying to alter or break up the nearly-completed merger between U.S. carrier Qwest Communications International Inc. and the telecommunications company US West Inc., according to published reports.

Deutsche Telekom has reportedly made an offer to buy Qwest at a price of somewhere between US$60 and $79 per share, a premium on its then share price, according to a report in today's Financial Times. However, the carrier has "less interest" in acquiring US West at a premium price, according to the report.

Speculation is so strong about Deutsche Telekom's possible disruption of the Qwest-US West merger that US West yesterday released a statement firmly stating its support for the merger with Qwest. It also refused to comment on "rumors and speculation concerning potential transactions beyond the Qwest transaction."

US West also reiterated its commitment to pursuing and closing its pending merger with Qwest as required by the existing merger agreement, which has already been approved by shareholders of both companies, US West said.

The all-stock deal between US West and Qwest is valued at $52.3 billion, according to published reports.

Deutsche Telekom declined to comment when asked about any proposed mergers.

Last month, however, Jeffrey Hedberg, board member in charge of international operations at Deutsche Telekom said in a press conference that the pending merger of Mannesmann AG and Vodafone AirTouch PLC had put Deutsche Telekom into an acquiring mood.

"Vodafone-Mannesmann will be a very powerful competitor. This has shaken the world and given us a kick in the pants. We need to move quickly," Hedberg said.

[See, "Deutsche Telekom Feels Acquisition Heat," Feb. 9.]In early trading today, Deutsche Telekom's shares on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange broke the 100-euro barrier for the first time, rising to a peak of 103 euros.

Deutsche Telekom, in Bonn, can be reached at +49-228-181-4949, or at http://www.telekom.de. 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/.

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