European communications giant may purchase Lauder's RLS Communications

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The Independent Online

Germany's Deutsche Telekom, which last week expanded into central Europe, is looking into purchasing U.S.-based RSL Communications, the weekly newsmagazine Spiegel reported today.

Germany's Deutsche Telekom, which last week expanded into central Europe, is looking into purchasing U.S.-based RSL Communications, the weekly newsmagazine Spiegel reported today.

A Deutsche Telekom spokesman declined to comment on the report.

Spiegel reported that a Telekom delegation had met with RSL founder Ronald Lauder in New York, and that the purchase price would be in the "high billions".

In an interview in German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Telekom chairman Ron Sommer said the company has some extra cash on hand for new linkups, especially in the United States.

Its stake in Sprint Corp., which is merging with MCI Worldcom Inc. (WCOM), will bring in about 17 billion marks (dlrs 9 billion), Sommer was quoted as saying.

"We have a lot of money at hand and can thus look around for partners," Sommer told the newspaper. "Even a mega-deal can't be ruled out."

Sommer added that his company prefers acquisitions and mergers to strategic partnerships.

Telekom last week announced a deal to expand into the central European and Russian cellular phone markets.

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