Key Turkish media groups in talks for sale worth 1.1 billion dollars

ISTANBUL, Shabtai Gold and Caroline Bock (dpa)- Turkey's largest media group has initiated talks for a sale it hopes will be worth 1.1 billion dollars to a rival conglomerate seen as friendly towards the government, according to a statement released Thursday by the company.
The sale is for the Dogan media group, which includes a key news agency, some of the country's largest newspapers, an English language daily, the local affiliate of broadcaster CNN and sports and entertainment outlets.

Dogan's potential buyer is the Demiroren Group which, among other assets, owns gas distribution networks and a shopping mall. The group bought two newspapers in recent years, which are seen as refraining from government criticism.
One foreign investor, German media giant Axel Springer SE, said Thursday it would pull all its investments out of Dogan.
"The company still maintains a 7-per-cent stake in the Dogan TV holding company, but there is a clear intention and relevant arrangements to completely pull out," Springer said on Thursday in Berlin.
Springer had previously said they would gradually give up its shares in Dogan, but now seems set to expedite the process.
A recording leaked in 2014 seemed to show President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then the prime minister, berating the owner of the Demiroren group over coverage, reducing him to tears.
Dogan is seen as having remained independent of the government even as it faced increased pressure in a country where dozens of journalists are behind bars.
The editor of Hurriyet, the flagship newspaper of the Dogan group, was replaced last year after publishing an article about unease within segments of the military which caused tensions with President Erdogan.
The paper stuck by the story and said the decision about the editor was made prior to the article's publication.
Dogan's media subsidiaries are owned by Aydin Dogan, a Turkish mogul who has seen his fortunes take hits in recent years.
In 2009, Erdogan and Dogan clashed publicly. The president sees the company as a vestige of the past, when the military held political power.

Thursday, March 22nd 2018
Shabtai Gold and Caroline Bock (dpa)

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