According to Reuters, Altimo, the telecoms arm of Russian conglomerate Alfa Group, has announced that it has acquired an additional 14% stake in Turkish mobile operator Turkcell, giving the firm a significant advantage in its long-running battle with Cukurova Holdings for control of Turkcell. The move comes after a decision by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. A statement issued by Altimo read: ‘The court has upheld Altimo’s appropriation of 51% of the shares of Cukurova Telecom Holdings Ltd (CTH) and 100% of the shares of Cukurova Finance International Ltd (CFI)’.
However, Altimo has yet to incorporate the 14% stake as Cukorova has 30 days to file a formal appeal. Further, Cukurova still controls Turkcell through an indirect majority stake in Turkcell Holding, which continues to run the listed company.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Turkcell is owned by Turkcell Holding (51.00%), Sonera Holding (part of Sweden’s TeliaSonera, 13.07%), MV Group (2.32%), Cukurova Holding (0.05%) and others (0.01%), with the remaining 33.55% publicly traded on the New York and Istanbul Stock Exchanges. Turkcell Holding is itself owned by TeliaSonera (47.09%, giving it a 37.09% overall stake) and Cukurova Holding (52.91%, for a 26.98% overall interest).
TeleGeography notes that the ongoing ownership issues relating to Turkcell date back to 2005, when Cukurova Holding reneged on an exclusivity agreement with TeliaSonera to offer shares to Alfa for a higher price – a deal which was later annulled. Subsequent years have seen the dispute rumble on, with legal appeals and counter appeals muddying the waters.