Bid date for Calik media assets pushed to March 21

Wed Mar 7, 2012 4:37am EST

* Qataris not selling stake in Calik media unit-sources

* Calik looking for strategic partner for majority stake

ISTANBUL, March 7 (Reuters) - The bidding deadline for media assets of Turkey's Calik Holding, including ATV television and Sabah newspaper, has been postponed two weeks to March 21, a source close to the sale process told Reuters.

Calik Holding, which also has interests in energy and finance, in January named Goldman Sachs to manage the sale of a controlling stake in its media unit, Turkuvaz Radio and Television Journalism and Publication Co.

ATV television and Sabah newspaper are being evaluated for separate sales, sources have said.

Calik Holding declined to comment.

News Corp, Time Warner Inc and Dubai-based Abraaj Capital are among interested parties and could bid up to around $1 billion, sources said last month.

"The sellers are mainly looking at a strategic partner. Any other bidders will have to offer a high premium to attract interest," said a banker close to the deal.

News Corp's Rupert Murdoch met Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan late on Tuesday. Murdoch told Erdogan that News Corp aimed to increase its investment in Turkey, sources told Reuters. News Corp owns Fox TV in Turkey.

Calik Holding paid $1.1 billion in 2007 for ATV-Sabah, one of Turkey's largest media groups.

Ahmet Calik, chairman of the holding company, is regarded as close to the ruling AK Party's leadership, and that deal gave the socially conservative, economically liberal government an influential friend in the media.

A unit of the Qatar Investment Authority, Al Wasaeel International Media Co, owns a 25 percent stake in the media unit, according to the Calik website.

The Qataris are not selling their stake, the source said, which means they would have to be involved in any move to separate out the TV and newspaper assets.

Erdogan's son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, is the chief executive of Calik Holding, and his brother Serhat Albayrak is the general manager of the media unit.

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