TeliaSonera wins Turkcell arbitration ruling

10 Mar 2008

TeliaSonera has won a ruling in an international arbitration tribunal regarding the ownership of a stake in Turkish mobile operator Turkcell. The tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce found that Turkcell shareholder Cukurova had ‘violated certain share transfer restrictions’ in an agreement under which TeliaSonera was to buy Turkcell shares from Cukurova, Reuters reports. TeliaSonera agreed to a USD3.1 billion deal to acquire a 27% stake in Turkcell from Cukurova in 2005 but Cukurova then signed a separate agreement to sell the stake to Altimo, the telecoms division of Russia’s Alfa Group. ‘The arbitration tribunal in Vienna has ordered Cukurova Holding to take all measures available to it, including good faith negotiations with Alfa, to repurchase the transferred shares,’ TeliaSonera has said in a statement. The Swedish-based telco says it is still keen to acquire Cukurova’s stake in Turkcell to increase its interest from the current level of 37%, though it accepts that the holding company may not be ‘able or willing’ to resurrect a deal. Turkcell is Turkey’s largest mobile operator, with 35.4 million subscribers and a 58% share of the market at the end of December 2007, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database.

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