Talks progress on sale of Calik's ATV to Time Warner-sources

ISTANBUL, April 12 Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:15am EDT

ISTANBUL, April 12 (Reuters) - Turkey's Calik Holding has made progress in talks to sell its ATV television unit to Time Warner Inc and a final decision could be made by the end of April, two sources close to the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Dubai-based Abraaj Capital is also interested in Calik's media assets, the sources said. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp had been eyeing ATV but dropped out of the race last year, other people said at the time.

"There are positive developments regarding Time Warner Group but the process is not yet completed. It should become clear at the end of April whether the sale will happen or not," said one source.

A spokeswoman for Calik declined to comment. Company officials at a Time Warner office in London could not immediately be reached.

Calik, which also has interests in energy and finance, appointed Goldman Sachs in January 2012 to manage the sale of a controlling stake in its entire media business, which includes Sabah newspaper, but there was no interest in acquiring the paper.

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 the deal gave the socially conservative, economically liberal government an influential friend in the media.

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.

A unit of the Qatar Investment Authority, Lusail International Media Co, owns a 25 percent stake in ATV-Sabah, according to Calik's website.

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