Turkey’s Bank Aysa Hires Goldman as Financial Adviser

Asya Katilim Bankasi AS (ASYAB), the Turkish bank in talks to sell a stake to Qatar Islamic Bank, said it hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) as a financial adviser.

Goldman Sachs was hired after a board meeting to be the Istanbul-based lender’s financial adviser in relation to its “strategic partnership,” Bank Asya said today in a statement, without providing further details.

Bank Asya said in March that it was in exclusive talks with QIB for a strategic partnership, while the Qatari bank said it was interested in taking a stake in the lender.

Bank Asya was founded by followers of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Islamic cleric blamed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the corruption probe that implicated members of his cabinet. The bank’s shares have climbed 62 percent since talks with QIB were announced on March 25, after slumping following the investigation that became public on Dec. 17.

Merger and acquisition activity in Turkey’s banking industry is increasing as international rivals seek to tap the country’s economic growth. Industrial & Commercial (1398) Bank of China Ltd. agreed to buy 76 percent of Turkey’s Tekstil Bankasi AS (TEKST) for $316 million in April, while Commercial Bank of Qatar bought Alternatifbank AS (ALNTF) last year.

Bank Asya fell 1.8 percent to 1.68 liras by 12:30 p.m. in Istanbul, cutting its market value to 1.5 billion liras ($723 million).

Bank Asya last week issued a statement denying unspecified “media reports,” after Hurriyet newspaper reported that state-run lender TC Ziraat Bankasi AS was interested in buying the lender.

To contact the reporters on this story: Isobel Finkel in Istanbul at ifinkel1@bloomberg.net; Dinesh Nair in Dubai at dnair5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net Dylan Griffiths

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