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Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
T-Online eyes ExciteAtHome
Detail from Excite web page
Potential buyers also include Tiscali and Wanadoo
T-Online, the German internet service provider (ISP), is reported to be among those interested in buying the European business of US portal ExciteAtHome.

The two companies have had exploratory talks and T-Online - the internet division of Deutsche Telekom - has yet to decide whether to open full-scale negotiations, the Wall Street Journal Europe newspaper reported.

Last month, Excite said it had received a number of approaches that could lead to a sale of the company.

Other potential buyers include Italy's Tiscali, which recently acquired UK ISP LineOne and France's Wanadoo, owner of Freeserve.

Analysts have tipped Tiscali as a likely buyer, saying the Italian company has fewer overlaps than its German rival with Excite, and so would gain more new customers.

T-Online and Excite Europe have declined to comment on any talks between them.

Job losses

After announcing wider net losses of $833m for the first quarter of this year, Excite last month said it was cutting 380 jobs.

Restructuring charges associated with the job losses accounted for much of these losses.

The company reported a net operating loss of $62m for the quarter.

Analysts said any asset sale might be of Excite's entire European operation - estimated to be worth $50m-100m - or just Excite UK, which is 42% owned by British Telecom.

The UK telecoms firm has announced a number of asset sales in recent weeks, in an attempt to cut its debts by 10bn by the end of the year.

T-Online on Wednesday confirmed that it had made a first-quarter loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 66.4m euros ($57m; 40m).

This was slightly narrower than losses of 68.1m euros reported for the fourth quarter of 2000.

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See also:

24 Apr 01 | Business
Deutsche Telekom narrows losses
21 Feb 01 | Business
Telekom profits take 20% hit
19 Apr 01 | Business
Deutsche Telekom's debt battle
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