Deutsche Telekom eyeing Sprint takeover-report

German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom is examining a possible bid for loss-making US mobile provider Sprint Nextel, a report said.

German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, quoted by an AFP report, said the Sprint project is top priority while specifying that there is 'for the moment' no formal offer for shares or a takeover attempt and no active negotiations.

Number three in the US mobile market, Sprint, if allied to Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA affiliate, could rival America's number one provider, AT&T Wireless, the report said.

Sprint is seen as a 'soft target' for Europeans because of a weak dollar against the euro and a fall in share value, Der Spiegel said, ahead of publication of the weekly magazine on Monday.

The company has posted steep 2007 losses with €19.4 billion (US$30 billion) in exceptional costs relating to its acquisition of Nextel.

Sprint also announced in mid-January that it was cutting 4,000 jobs and closing 125 company-owned retail stores in anticipation of 'downward pressure' on its profits in the coming year.