STC is believed to be the most likely candidate to obtain a 55% stake in Turk Telekom from the operator’s beleaguered majority shareholder Oger Telecom.
While STC is widely expected to purchase the holding for $3.9 billion, if the deal falls through for any reason then the Turkish government may intervene and obtain the unit via a public institution. Other companies have expressed an interest in the stake but thus far only STC has begun talks over a potential acquisition.
Reuters quoted an anonymous source as saying: “Turk Telekom is a strategic and important company. It will not be left to its fate for sure. Public institutions would intervene when needed and this option is still a matter of consideration.”
Oger Telecom is under pressure from its creditors to sell the stake. The firm is currently embroiled in financial issues that have already seen it default on repaying two instalments of a $4.75 billion syndicated loan which was taken out predominantly as a means of refinancing its existing debts.
The Turkish Lira’s diminishing value was cited as a key factor behind Oger’s financial troubles as this reduced the dividends generated by the firm’s stake in Turk Telekom. The company’s creditors are pushing for the sale to go through by September so that the loan continues to be listed as “performing”.
After failing to make its two missed debt repayments, Oger was put on notice by the Turkish treasury, with the country’s government directing some banks to look for a potential buyer for the stake in Turk Telekom.
STC in January expressed an interest in obtaining a direct stake in Oger Telecom, but appears to have revised its strategy. Oger is owned by Saudi construction firm Saudi Oger, which is currently undergoing a major restructuring of its multibillion-dollar debt.