FRANKFURT, May 6 (Reuters) - KPN's German mobile phone service provider E-Plus is in early talks to sell thousands of cell phone towers to a financial investor to raise funds for network expansion, Der Spiegel reported, without giving its sources.
The German weekly magazine said on Sunday that E-Plus would lease back the towers as part of the deal.
A spokesman for E-Plus declined to comment on the matter.
E-Plus is in fierce competition over market share in Germany with market leader Deutsche Telekom, British group Vodafone and O2, owned by Spain's Telefonica.
The company has been investing heavily in marketing and network expansion, causing its operating profit to stagnate at 303 million euros ($397 million)in the first quarter of 2012, despite a 3 percent gain in revenues. ($1 = 0.7625 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Peter Maushagen; Editing by Anthony Barker)