Deutsche Post, the semi-privatized German postal service, said on Thursday it was in talks with British logistics group Exel with a view to a possible takeover. "Deutsche Post has initiated talks with Excel Plc with a view to making a possible takeover offer," the German company said in a statement. But it insisted that the talks were still at a very early stage and "there can be no certainty as to their outcome." US firms United Parcel Services (UPS) and Federal Express (Fedex) are also seen as potential buyers. Exel had said earlier that it had been approached by Deutsche Post, sparking a sharp sell-off in the German company's shares as investors fretted about the likely cost of such a deal. Exel employs 111,000 in 130 different countries and has annual sales of close to 10 billion euros ($12.2 billion) and would likely prove a costly takeover target. Press reports have suggested the purchase price could exceed four billion euros.