Turk Telekom Bids to Buy 53 Percent Cukurova Stake in Digiturk

Turk Telekomunikasyon AS (TTKOM), Turkey’s biggest telephony company, submitted bid to buy 53 percent stake at Digiturk, which holds the country’s super league soccer broadcasting rights, from Cukurova Holding AS.

Turk Telekom’s bid in Digiturk, Turkey’s biggest digital TV platform, is non-binding, the Ankara-based company said in a filing with Borsa Istanbul today.

Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, or TMSF, took over Digiturk, formally known as Krea Icerik Hizmetleri & Produksiyon AS, and as well as several other assets from Cukurova Holding AS in May after Cukurova failed to repay a $455 million debt. TMSF chief Sakir Ercan Gul has said the fund may sell the entire company if Providence Equity Partners Inc., a U.S. buyout firm, agrees to sell its 47 percent stake along with Cukurova’s 53 percent.

D-Smart, Turkey’s second-biggest digital TV platform, plans to bid in the government-brokered auction to sell Digiturk. D-Smart, owned by media group Dogan Yayin Holding AS (DYHOL), plans to merge the companies should it win the auction and get antitrust clearance, Chief Executive Officer Ali Guven said today in a telephone interview July 3.

A merger with Digiturk would yield as many as 5 million subscribers, compared with D-Smart’s current base of 1.6 million TV box users and 370,000 Internet subscribers, according to Guven. Digiturk’s customers include 1 million users of Lig TV, which holds Turkey’s Super League soccer rights, he said.

Cukurova, one of three main shareholders in Turkey’s biggest mobile operator Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS (TCELL), is managing the sale process under the auspices of TMSF, a spokesman for the government agency said on July 3.

Cukurova has already agreed to sell AKS Televizyon Reklamcilik Yayincilik & Filmcilik AS, which owns the Show TV channel, for $402 million to a Ciner Holding unit.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net.

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