Friday, April 25, 2014 04:18 [Daily Archive]

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Turkish media company sale raises eyebrows
Some members of Turkey's media watchdog criticized on Wednesday the sale of Turkey's second biggest media group, ATV-Sabah, to the un-listed Calik Group, saying they were not informed about the Qatari partner.

Turkish media company sale raises eyebrows

Calik said in a separate statament on Wednesday Al Wasaeel International Media is a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority and paid 125 million dollars for the acquisition of ATV-Sabah.

Under the law, Calik Group was obliged to inform the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) about the foreign partner of the buying consortium but they failed to do so, two members of RTUK said on Wednesday.  

"If Ahmet Calik (the owner of Calik Group) sold 25 percent of the shares that he owned, then he should apply to inform about the change in stakeholders’ structure. After that, we have to analyse this and make a decision. According to the information filed to RTUK there was no Qatari company among the Turkuvaz's shareholders," RTUK member Mehmet Dadak told ANKA news agency.

On Tuesday the shares of Turkey's second largest media company, Sabah and ATV, transferred to the media company Turkuvaz Radyo Televizyon, a subsidiary of Calik Group, following the completion of $1.1 billion in cash payment. A Qatar-based media company, Al Wasaeel International Media Co., is announced to have purchased 25 percent of shares in Turkuvaz.

Calik said in a separate statament on Wednesday Al Wasaeel International Media is a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority and paid 125 million dollars for the acquisition of ATV-Sabah. "Al Wasaeel International Media Company is  founded by Qatar Investment Authority to operate in the media sector," Calik added.

Opposition parties have criticized the sale, saying the transaction is politically-motivated. CHP said it monitors the developments closely and will continue to do so.

"We cannot ignore the fact of supporting a media company with the financial support of two state-run banks... We are going to do everything we can. We will monitor the developments closely," said Hakki Suha Okay, deputy chairman of CHP.

Calik took $750 million-loans from state-owned Vakifbank and Halkbank to finance the acquisition, the remainder will be financed equally by the shareholders of Turkuvaz, the group said in a statement.

Serhat Albayrak, the brother of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's son-in law, is expected to take the helm of Calik's media companies.

ATV-Sabah is a new entity comprising of assets seized by Turkey's Savings Deposits and Insurance Fund (TMSF) from unlisted conglomerate Ciner Group last year in April, saying irregularities had come to surface. It includes one of Turkey's best-selling newspapers, Sabah, and popular entertainment TV channel ATV.

The board of the TMSF had set a minimum auction price of $1.1 billion; Calik was the only bidder.

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