TeliaSonera, the Nordic region’s biggest teleco, said on Thursday it was considering purchasing a further 4.1% stake in Turkey’s biggest mobile operator Turkcell. Media-to-energy conglomerate Cukurova has instructed JP Morgan to sell the Turkcell shares to international investors to provide funds to reduce its debt burden. At the current price of TRY10.0 a share, the stake is valued at TRY902 million (USD700 million).
TeliaSonera currently owns a 37% stake in Turkcell, either directly or through Turkcell Holding, which has a controlling 51% stake in Turkey’s biggest mobile operator. After the sale Cukurova will still retain control as it holds a majority stake in Turkcell Holding. TeliaSonera spokesman Ola Kallemur stated, ‘What we aim for is of course eventual control. This stake that’s been flagged for sale now is not of a size that would give us control’. In 2005 Cukurova agreed to sell TeliaSonera a 27% interest in Turkcell but then sold half of that stake to Altimo, the telecoms arm of Alfa Group. Since then, TeliaSonera has waged a legal battle to try to get hold of as much as possible of the shares it had planned to buy originally.