Turkey turns to second bidder in huge lottery tender
ANKARA / ISTANBUL
DHA PhotoTurkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on April 15 the country’s national lottery privatization tender process will probably continue with the second highest bidder, rather than giving further time to the top bidder to sign a deal.
Top bidder Net Holding earlier said an agreement for the lottery privatization could not be signed on April 15 as previously announced, triggering a slide of around 10 percent in its shares.
Following Şimşek’s comments, the losses in the company’s shares accelerated.
A Turkish consortium of two experienced gaming companies emerged triumphant from a fierce competition to earn the 10-year operational rights of Turkey’s national lottery, after placing the highest bid of $2.755 billion in the privatization tender held July 15, 2014.
The consortium of Net Şans Holding, which already owns several entertainment and gambling businesses, and Hitay, which owns Turkey’s first online gambling platform, bilyoner.com, were supposed to operate four games and scratch card tickets, which are currently operated by the National Lottery.
The second highest bidder, a joint venture of a Central Anatolian company owned by jeweler Ahlatcı and a Turkish company, ERG, also run by Turkish Lottery Holding, had given a bid of $2.75 billion in the tender.
The preparations for the legal basis of Milli Piyango’s privatization first began in 2003, allowing gaming licenses to be granted to state or private companies through a tendering process.
The relevant provisions were again amended in 2008 and an implementation regulation was published in the same year. The first tender took place in May 2009, but did not yield any results. Turkey scrapped a tender to privatize the lottery as a whole after the bidders failed to meet the $1.6 billion minimum price. Ankara subsequently opted instead to sell individual licenses for games operated by the lottery.