A US official says the Islamic State militants who beheaded American journalist James Foley in Syria had demanded €100 million (NZ$158 million) in ransom for his release.
A second US official says the demands were sent in emails to Foley's family in New Hampshire. Both officials spoke overnight (NZ time) condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the ransom demands by name.
Separately, Foley's former employer said that the militants first demanded the money late last year.
GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni also indicated that European governments paid far less to have the Islamic State release their hostages.
US policy prohibits the government negotiating with terrorists, including paying ransom.
A video of Foley's beheading was released on websites earlier this week.