TeliaSonera to bid for Turkcell to end long-running row

22 Dec 2003

Nordic telecoms heavyweight TeliaSonera is planning an audacious bid to seize control of cellular operator Turkcell in an effort to end an acrimonious dispute with the Turkish company’s controlling shareholder, the Cukurova Group. TeliaSonera is believed to have told Turkey’s government that it is willing to acquire a 20% stake in Turkcell Holdings, which owns the cellco, to gain effective control of one of the most profitable companies in the country. The Nordic powerhouse holds 47% of Turkcell, while the Cukurova Group has 53%, but a 20% stake is pledged to Yapi Kredi Bank as collateral for debt. If Cukurova fails to honour its commitment to the debt payment programme with the bank, TeliaSonera could step in and boost its interest to 67%. The company is concerned that its Turkish partner could use Turkcell’s money-making potential to support its own financially troubled affiliates.

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