ISTANBUL, July 16 Efforts by Turkey's Cukurova
to recover a disputed controlling stake in mobile phone operator
Turkcell suffered a setback on Wednesday after
regulators said fellow conglomerate Yildiz Holding could not
help it finance the move.
Yildiz said Turkey's treasury and banking regulators had
warned against its private equity unit Gozde Girisim
helping to raise the $1.6 billion Cukurova needs to take back
control of Turkcell.
Cukurova and Altimo, the telecoms investment arm of Russian
billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, have been fighting for
seven years for control of Turkcell, choking decision-making at
the firm and preventing the payment of dividends.
"The treasury gave an adverse opinion. The BDDK banking
regulator also gave a verbal negative opinion," Yildiz Holding's
head of communications, Zuhal Seker, told Reuters.
She did not say on what basis the regulators had warned
against the move, but said the company was still evaluating its
options ahead of a July 30 deadline for Cukurova to pay.
Gozde's shares fell 0.65 percent to 3.06 lira, while
Turkcell's shares were down 0.39 percent at 12.80 lira.
The Turkish government is keen for Turkcell, the country's
biggest mobile phone operator, to remain in Turkish hands and
for Cukurova to secure financing from a local partner to recover
Three sources close to the matter said last month that
Cukurova would receive financing from a local partner, and two
of them said that partner would be Yildiz.
Gozde Girisim Chief Executive Cem Karakas told Reuters last
month Gozde was in talks on a "structured financing" concerning
the country's telecoms industry but gave no details.
Swedish company TeliaSonera, which owns an
effective 37 percent of Turkcell, has been embroiled in a
separate but related dispute with Cukurova concerning a claim
for damages after the Turkish company reneged on an earlier deal
to sell TeliaSonera part of its stake in Turkcell.
(Reporting by Asli Kandemir; Writing by Seda Sezer; Editing by
Nick Tattersall and David Evans)