beIN Sports set for Digiturk takeover

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 21 April 2015

Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Media Group has agreed a full takeover deal of Turkey's pay-TV platform Digiturk, according to local reports.

The Star Gaztesi newspaper says the agreement, worth between US$1 billion and $1.2 billion, is pending approval from Turkey's Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF).

In May 2013, TMSF seized control of Çukurova Holding's former 47% stake in Digiturk after it failed to meet a debt obligation to the state agency.

In December 2014, chairman and CEO of beIN Sports, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, reportedly acquired an unconfirmed 53% stake in Digiturk for $820 million. It was anticipated that this, the largest ever media deal in Turkey, would see the Al Jazeera-affiliated sports broadcaster take on the Cukurova Group's stake.

The remaining 47%, owned by US private equity group Providence Equity Partners, will now be acquired by beIN Sports, according to Star Gaztesi.

Digiturk, which has a subscriber base of 3.3 million, holds the exclusive media rights for the Super Lig, Turkey's top-tier football league, until the end of the 2016-17 season. A deal with beIN Sports, which has acquired a growing host of lucrative football rights around the world, has been rumoured since December 2013.

Al Jazeera Turk, a Turkish language channel owned by the Qatari media group, was awarded a digital TV licence in 2013.