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Digitürk on the block as Turkish state fund seizes Çukurova assets

Digiturk logoTurkey’s Digitürk may be sold off in whole or in part following  a Turkish state fund’s seizure of 12 companies owned by the pay TV operator’s majority owner, Çukurova Group, according to local reports.

Sakir Ercan Gül, chairman of the Turkish Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), told Bloomberg at the weekend that the TMSF would enter talks with Providence Equity Partners, which holds the 47% of Digitürk not owned by Çukurova, with a view to selling either Çukurova’s stake or organising a joint sale of the company.

Gül said that Digitürk had no way to pay its debts, leading to the TMSF’s move. The company’s indebtedness made headlines in 2011 when Çukurova owner Mehmet Emin Karamehmet was faced with a large tax fine over unpaid bills to the Turkish state.

Digitürk moved to assure its customers that there would be “no disruption in service” in the wake of the seizure.

Digitürk’s rival Türk Telekom has denied reports that it is preparing to purchase the operator. The operator said it was not involved in any negotiations to buy Digitürk, although it “will continue to evaluate opportunities that can create value”.

Separately, Digiturk has begun providing set-tops that include the the Anytime Anywhere technology from Motive Television that enables on-demand content to be delivered via the broadcast stream.

Motive has estimated that at least 100,000 Digiturk subscribers will receive set-tops with its technology on board over the next two to three years.

The Turkish deal gives Motive its second major client for the Anytime Anywhere technology, following its earlier deal with Italy’s Mediaset. It is is also the first time the technology has been used by a satellite TV broadcaster.