Drawn by the promise of exploding sales opportunities in the U.S. voice/data market, GenTek, Inc., has announced plans to acquire Krone AG from Jenoptik AG for $218 million in cash and the assumption of Krone debt.

Krone is a manufacturer of voice/data connectors. GenTek has an interest in the voice/data market through a potential marketing partnership with Prestolite Wire Corp., Southfield, Mich., a low-voltage wiring specialist. Krone and Prestolite have a marketing relationship that predates the acquisition.

Prestolite Wire and GenTek, Hampton, N.H., share the same chairman and are affiliated with Latona Associates, Hampton, N.H., an investment firm that provides advisory services.

The marketing partnership would provide a package of datacom connectors and cable for premises-wiring applications. GenTek also has aspirations to grow overseas and has inked a deal with Anixter, Inc., Skokie, Ill., to distribute the company's products in the Asia-Pacific market. Krone had $300 million in revenues in 1998 and employs 3,000 employees in 25 countries.