ISTANBUL, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Turkey’s government is preparing a reform which would allow foreigners to own 50 percent of private broadcasters rather than a current 25 percent, Sabah newspaper reported on Saturday.
Sabah, without citing sources, said the draft reform law had been presented to the prime minister’s office.
The current law was an obstacle in last year’s sale of media firm ATV-Sabah, bankers and analysts said.
After several foreign firms showed interest, the company — which includes Sabah newspaper — was sold to local conglomerate Calik Holding for the minimum auction price of $1.1 billion.
The pro-business AK Party tried to reform the law on foreign ownership in 2005 but the bill was vetoed by the former president. Current President Abdullah Gul is a former member of the AK Party and has a track record of approving legislation passed by the AK-dominated parliament.
Turkey’s fast-growing media sector is dominated by Dogan Yayin Holding DYHOL.IS. The second largest company is ATV-Sabah, which is made up of assets seized by a state body from the Ciner Group last year and which was sold to Calik in December.
Third largest is the media business of unlisted conglomerate Cukurova, which, according to sources familiar with the situation, has been looking to sell a stake in its media assets.
A large and young population, coupled with annual economic growth of around 5 percent makes the Turkish media market attractive to investors. Companies which expressed an interest in ATV-Sabah included News Corp. NWSA.N and Europe’s largest commercial broadcaster RTL AUDK.LU. (Reporting by Emma Ross-Thomas, Editing by Peter Blackburn)