Vodafone Said to Near Deal to Buy Koc’s Internet Unit in Turkey

Vodafone Group Plc (VOD), the world’s largest mobile-phone company, is nearing an agreement to buy Koc Holding AS (KCHOL)’s telecommunication unit Koc.net to add fixed-line and Internet services in Turkey, two people familiar with the matter said.

No accord has been reached yet, the people said, declining to be identified as the talks are not public. Koc Holding is Turkey’s biggest conglomerate.

The deal could help Vodafone, based in Newbury, England, to drive data sales and lure clients with combined mobile and fixed-line services in Turkey. In the country, Vodafone competes with Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, Turkey’s biggest mobile- phone operator, and Avea Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, a unit of Turk Telekomunikasyon AS. (TTKOM)

Koc.net had sales of about 69 million euros ($100 million) in 2009, according to consulting firm Deloitte. Koc Holding doesn’t provide details for Koc.net’s financial results in its annual report.

Vodafone entered the Turkish market in 2006 after acquiring the No. 2 mobile-phone operator Telsim for $4.5 billion. The country was Vodafone’s fastest growing operation in the three months through June as service revenue surged 32 percent to 411 million pounds ($673 million). Vodafone in 2009 agreed to buy Turkey’s Borusan Telekom AS to access the company’s fiber-optic network.

Spokesmen for Vodafone and Koc Holding declined to comment today. Koc.net Chief Executive Officer Mehmet Ali Akarca and Vodafone Turkey’s CEO Serpil Timuray didn’t immediately respond to calls from Bloomberg seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Browning in London jbrowning9@bloomberg.net Ercan Ersoy in Istanbul at eersoy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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