State regulator relies on Digitürk for seized group
RİZE - Anadolu Agency
DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELPay-television juggernaut Digitürk has been invaluable for Turkey’s Çukurova Group in paying off its debts, but some other seized companies of the group, such as SHOW TV and motor company BMC, are in deep trouble, Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey (TMSF) head Şakir Ercan Gül said yesterday.
The state regulator seized control in May of Digitürk and many other companies belonging to the troubled conglomerate, the Çukurova Group, in connection with the debts of the group.
Gül said the special condition of Digitürk, which has exclusive rights to show Spor Toto Super League matches, constituted no problem for football clubs, as the company regularly paid the fees for the broadcast rights to the games to the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).
“Under our supervision, the company paid a sizable amount of payment to the TFF in June to distribute among the football clubs. Other payments will also be made regularly under our supervision unless the company is sold. Then the would-be-buyer will make the payments,” he said.
Digitürk won the tender for Super League broadcasting rights in January 2010 for a yearly net payment of $321 million. But the company complained that the match-fixing investigation launched in July 2011 hurt the image of Turkish football and put its business at risk. The TFF then agreed to extend Digitürk’s deal without renewing the tender following the complaints.
Local, foreign groups want Digitürk
A number of local and foreign groups have declared their intention to buy Digitürk since May. Türk Telekom submitted a non-binding offer to buy a 53 percent stake in the company in July, but the Çukurova Group found Türk Telekom’s $530-million offer too low, the TMSF said, adding that there were four other bidders including mobile operators and the Doğuş Group. Digitürk’s biggest rival, D-smart, also said in early July that it wanted to acquire the company. The U.S. private equity group, Providence Equity Partners, also owns 47 percent of Digitürk.
“Digitürk has been a very healthy and steady company, unlike other Çukurova companies,” the TMSF head said, adding that some other seized companies of the group, such as SHOW TV and motor company BMC, were not in a good position.
“After we seized control of BMC, we saw the company had already stopped its operations for the previous four or five months, and the company was in debt over $500 million,” Gül said, adding that they wanted to enable BMC, one of Turkey’s biggest defense firms, to become operational again.
Turkey’s defense industry body said in June it might order additional armored personal carriers Kirpis – even as around one-third of its first order still has not been delivered – as it hopes BMC, the vehicles’ maker, will settle its financial issues after being seized by the TMSF.