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Dogan Seeks Bids for Turkey’s Hurriyet, Board Member Says

Dogan Yayin Holding AS, Turkey’s biggest media group, is seeking bids for its newspaper unit Hurriyet Gazetecilik & Matbaacilik AS, said Soner Gedik, a company board member.

Hurriyet, owned 66.6 percent by Dogan Yayin, “has always been in the list of assets to be sold,” Gedik said in a telephone interview on Dec. 10.

Dogan Sirketler Grubu Holding AS, a Turkish business group owned by tycoon Aydin Dogan, put its media units grouped under Dogan Yayin Holding up for sale, hiring Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as adviser. Dogan Sirketler Grubu holds 11 percent in Hurriyet, according to Istanbul Stock Exchange data.

Dogan has asked potential investors for bids and a final short list will be ready “within a month,” Gedik said.

“We are trying to sell all media assets for the right price and in three months we plan to finalize the sale deal,” he said. “Both strategic and private equity investors (are) among the potential bidders. All potential bidders are foreign.”

Dogan Yayin Holding’s other assets include CNN Turk, Kanal D and Star television channels as well as Milliyet and Posta newspapers, published by Dogan Gazetecilik, and a number of magazines, according to its web site.

Dogan is seeking buyers for its units after the government demanded $3.8 billion in back taxes. The finance ministry filed the tax bill last year after Dogan clashed with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over allegations in Dogan’s newspapers that the government had financial links with Islamic charity Deniz Feneri in Germany, whose officials were convicted of fraud. Erdogan says the tax administration is independent of political influence. Dogan is seeking to overturn the demands in court.

Hurriyet shares rose 10 kurus, or 5.3 percent, to 1.98 liras on Dec. 10. on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. Dogan Yayin rose 5 kurus, or 2.8 percent, to 1.81 liras and Dogan Sirketler was unchanged at 1.08 liras.

Dogan has received “non-binding bids” for the media assets, it said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange on Oct. 14.

RTL Group SA, KKR & Co. LP, TPG Capital and Time Warner Inc. are among companies interested in the sale, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg Oct. 13.

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