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Talks advance on Telia’s $530 million Turkcell stake

Telia office.jpg

Telia Company has confirmed it is in advanced talks with the Turkish Wealth Fund (TWF) about a “potential divestment of its indirect stake” in Turkcell, valued at US$530 million.

Following what it called “speculations in the media”, Telia Company yesterday confirmed that negotiations are ongoing and “are in an advanced stage, but no agreement has yet been reached”.

In 2019 Telia sold its direct stake in Turkcell as part of a strategy to focus on the Baltics and Nordics. At that point, Telia’s indirect stake in Turkcell through Turkcell Holding remained unchanged. Turkcell has yet to comment on the latest developments.

Turkcell Holding – which is the only NYSE-listed company in Turkey – is owned by Cukurova Telecom Holdings Limited and Telia Sonera Finland Oyj, which holds a 47.1%. 

The holding company owns 51% of Turkcell.

Trading of related stock has now been suspended, however, Nasdaq reported that Turkcell's shares gained 2.08% by close of trading on 16 June while Telia shares were up 5.5%.

TWF was established in 2016 to fund Turkey’s big-ticket infrastructure projects and deepen interests in capital markets, acting as the country’s strategic investment arm and equity solutions provider. Running into problems only 12 months later, in 2017 inaugural chair Mehmet Bostan was fired by President Erdoğan for failing to meet first year targets.

The president then appointed himself chairman and his son-in-law Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, as deputy chairman. Zafer Sonmez is TWF’s managing director and public-facing head.

TWF has interests in energy, aviation, logistics and telecoms and aims to become a permanent participant of the World Economy Forum (WEF). Further it reinforces Turkey’s political ties, for example confirming a bilateral agreement with China earlier in 2020.

Meanwhile, in April Turkcell confirmed it had transformed its LTE and 5G voice network into 100% virtual infrastructures using Mavenir’s cloud-native, NFV-based IMS solution.

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