Turkcell makes offer for BTC

29 Mar 2007

Turkish mobile operator Turkcell has confirmed it has made an offer for a 65% stake in Bulgaria’s dominant telecoms firm BTC. Since the start of the year Iceland’s richest man Thor Bjorgolfsson has been considering selling his option on the 65% stake and last month appointed Lehman Brothers to shortlist investors interested in the acquisition. Turkcell, which faces growing competition at home, signed a USD3 billion syndicated loan last month and its new chief executive, Sureyya Ciliv, said the firm could use it to invest in eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia; it had six months to make use of the loan.

Media reports have said besides Turkcell, Turkey’s fixed line operator Turk Telecom and private equity investment funds Providence Equity Partner, Texas Pacific Group, Warburg Pincus and Mid-Europa Partners are also eyeing the deal. Novator has said it expects Lehman to have proposals on how to proceed with the deal at the end of April at the latest. A source familiar with the process has told Reuters that Lehman Brothers is talking to interested strategic and private equity fund investors that have placed initial offers with them. He said Lehman would most likely propose Novator opens talks with up to six interested bidders for the sale that is expected to be finalised in June

Bulgaria, Turk Telekom, Turkcell, Vivacom (BTC)