Istanbul, July 15 () - Qatari media group beIN has completed the takeover of Turkish satellite network and pay-tv provider Digitürk, a statement from the company said late on July 13, while Qatari Emir Tammim bin Hamad al-Thani met and conferred with Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan behind closed doors in Istanbul.
According to IRIB World Service, citing IRNA, this is the emir’s fifth visit to Turkey in the current year.
The media group is an affiliate of Qatari-based television network Al Jazeera.
No sale amount was disclosed for the deal. However, former media reports said the amount is nearly $1.2 billion.
Digitürk, which has more than 3.5 million customers and holds the rights to broadcast Turkish Super League football matches until the end of 2016-2017 season, is 53 percent owned by Çukurova Holding and 47 percent owned by U.S. private equity group Providence Equity Partners.
The Digitürk stakes of Çukurova, the cash-strapped company controlled by Turkish businessman Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, were seized in 2013 by Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) because of the company’s debts to the state agency.
“Given the proximity with the MENA region and Asia, our entry into the Turkish market is a natural step for beIN Media Group,” said beIN Media Group CEO Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.
“We aim to develop the Digitürk platform and Türk Pay-TV, as well as the sports market,” he added.
Al-Khelaifi is also the chairman of Qatar Sports Investment (QSI), a sovereign fund formed as a joint venture between the Qatar Olympic Committee and the Qatari Finance Ministry. The QSI is the owner of Paris Saint-Germain football club and is the largest shareholder of sportswear company Burrda.
This is not the first time a Qatari company has invested in Turkey. Half of Turkish defense company BMC, which had earlier been owned by Çukurova, was sold to a Qatari company in 2014. Qatari investment fund Mayhoola for Investments also bought a 30.7 percent stake in Turkish retailer Boyner Perakende for 885 million Turkish Liras ($332 million) in April.