Turkish media attract US, Azeri, Dubai firms

Turkish media attract US, Azeri, Dubai firms

Turkish media attract US, Azeri, Dubai firms

The Turkish media sector, which has rapidly grown in the last decade, is attracting possible investors from the United States, Azerbaijan and Dubai. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

Foreign firms are increasingly interested in investing in the Turkish media sector, as Azerbaijan’s state oil company Socar, U.S. based Time Warner and a Gulf company eye stakes in television channels and a daily newspaper.

Socar is looking for a possible partnership with Kanal 24 television and Star newspaper, owned by Star Media Group, and the Time Warner and Dubai-based private equity fund Abraaj Capital are reportedly in talks to buy Turkuvaz Media Group’s ATV television.

Socar is currently in talks with the Star Media Group for a possible partnership, an official of the company confirmed to Hürriyet Daily News on April 12. But the official did not give further information about the negotiations or the price since the talks were at a very early stage.

Star Media Group’s partner Fettah Tamince, also the founder of Rixos Hotels, a tourism sector giant active in eight countries, also confirmed earlier this week that they were in discussions about the sale of daily Star and Kanal 24, however, he said that they had not arrived at a final agreement yet.

Tamince is known for his close links to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who usually spends his holidays at one of the Rixos Hotels.

Star daily, founded by the Uzan Group in 1999, was transferred to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) in 2004. The group was first bought by Turkish Cypriot businessman Ali Özmen Safa in a tender in 2006 and was later sold to Ethem Sancak. Tamince is a partner of the group since 2009.

Time Warner sets eye on ATV television

Meanwhile, the negotiations between Time Warner and Çalık Holding over the sale of ATV television have regained speed, source close to the matter told Reuters. “There are positive developments about Time Warner Group. It may be finalized by the end of this month,” the source said.

Dubai-based private equity fund Abraaj Capital is also one of three investors interested in ATV’s sale, while Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation reportedly dropped out of the competition last year.

Ciner Holding’s ATV and Sabah newspaper were transferred to TMSF in 2007 and Çalık Holding won the tender for their sale with a $1.1 billion offer in the same year. Ahmet Çalık, owner of Çalık holding, has close ties to Prime Minister Erdoğan. Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Çalık Holding, which has investments in energy, finance, textile, and mining sectors.

Turkish media is no stranger to foreign investments. Time Warner and Doğan Media Holding have a partnership in CNNTürk news channel, while News Corporation owns Fox television.

Foreign companies are restricted to having a maximum 50 percent stake of the capital of media institutions in Turkey, according to law that regulates radio and television’s services.