Lone local group bids for Turkey’s ATV-Sabah

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A lone consortium, led by Turkey’s Calik Group, has bid for Turkish media firm ATV-Sabah after RTL Group and Carlyle Group withdrew, a spokesman for the body running the auction said yesterday. RTL, in consortium with Turkish partners, and Carlyle Group with Turkish firm Nurol, applied for pre-qualification but a spokesman at the state Savings Deposits and Insurance Fund (TMSF) said only Calik had submitted a closed envelope bid yesterday. The auction is scheduled for 11 o’clock local time this morning. A minimum price of $1.1 billion has been set for the company, which includes one of Turkey’s top newspapers and a popular entertainment channel. The TMSF has said there is no legal reason for the auction not to go ahead with one bidder. An RTL spokesman said yesterday it had sought more time before the auction while the Carlyle consortium had also asked for a postponement, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday. The auction had already been postponed once. The sale of what analysts said were some of Turkey’s most attractive media assets had been expected to attract strong foreign and local interest. TMSF Chairman Ahmet Erturk said last month the disappointing show could be down to tougher conditions in global credit markets and a law limiting foreign ownership of broadcasters to 25 percent which meant foreigners had to seek local partners. A TMSF official said in September that RTL, News Corp, Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1, Prague-listed CME and Greek broadcaster Antenna TV were interested and purchased the $50,000 documents needed to bid. ATV-Sabah is a new entity comprising media assets which the TMSF seized from unlisted conglomerate Ciner Group in April, saying irregularities had come to light. Luxembourg-based RTL had teamed up with Turkish partners Sancak Construction and ATP Construction. ATP’s parent Koza Davetiye said in a statement to the stock market late on Monday the consortium would not bid.