US investors preparing to take over Deutsche Telekom - report

US private equity firm Blackstone is reportedly preparing to launch an offer for the entire share capital of Deutsche Telekom, Europe's leading telecom group, according to an AFP report.

The AFP report, citing the weekly paper WirtschaftsWoche, said Blackstone, which in April acquired a 4.5% stake in Deutsche Telekom and had a seat on the group's supervisory board, was preparing to raise 60 billion euros ($76 billion) from investors by the end of this year in order to launch a full takeover offer next spring.

But Blackstone denied the report, the AFP report said.

"We've never wanted to buy more than 4.5% in Deutsche Telekom because we believe that is sufficient to be a key shareholder in the group," Blackstone spokesman John Ford was quoted as saying. "Our investment idea for Deutsche Telekom is based on the 4.5% stake and possibly a seat on the group's supervisory board. Any questions about the more distant future are hypothetical and of no relevance."

The German government holds a direct stake of 14.62% in Deutsche Telekom, plus a further 16.63% indirectly via the public-sector development bank KfW, which Berlin traditionally uses as its privatization vehicle.

Both the government and KfW said they had no knowledge of a bid by Blackstone, the AFP report said.

A Deutsche Telekom spokesman said the government and KfW had both said they intended to remain the biggest shareholders for some time to come, the report further said.