TeliaSonera’s Turkcell hopes dashed

16 Jul 2004

Attempts by Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera to gain control of leading Turkish cellco Turkcell look set to fail following reports that the Cukurova Group has forged an agreement with the Turkish government that will see it maintain majority control of the mobile operator. Cukurova owns 42.34% of Turkcell but, according to the Financial Times, had a number of these shares seized by the government recently as collateral for the USD6.2 billion Cukurova owes to two banks, Pamuk and Yapi Kredi, in which Cukorova holds stakes. TeliaSonera had been hoping to buy some of these shares to build on its current 37.09% shareholding in Turkcell. However, it was announced yesterday that Cukurova has agreed a deal with the authorities to repay its debt. Under the proposed agreement, Cukurova will repay USD4.2 billion over the next two years, as well as relinquishing its 58% shareholding in Yapi Kredi, which will be sold.

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