Qatar-based Ooredoo confirmed it held talks about acquiring a stake in Turkey’s smallest mobile operator Turk Telekom, but discussions have so far not progressed to anything concrete.
In a statement to the Qatar Stock Exchange, Ooredoo said it wanted to clarify reports in the media that it was interested in Turk Telekom, and while “there were some initial discussions, these did not progress to the negotiation stage”.
Reports in November revealed Ooredoo had decided to make a bid for Ojer Telekomunikasyon (Otas), which operates as a subsidiary of Oger Telecom – a special purpose vehicle that owns 55 per cent of Turk Telekom.
However, it faced competition from Saudi Telecom, which is also reportedly in the race to acquire the stake in the Turkish operator, according to sources.
GSMA Intelligence numbers give Turk Telecom a 25 per cent market share, behind larger rivals Turkcell (44 per cent share) and Vodafone (31 per cent).
Saudi Telecom also owns a 35 per cent stake in Oger Telecom, and plans to buy the subsidiary through a $750 million cash injection, as well as committing to restructure a further $4 billion worth of debt, Bloomberg reported in November.
Indeed, Otas missed three payments since September 2016 on a loan of $4.75 billion it borrowed from 29 local and international banks in 2013.
A potential acquisition by Ooredoo would see it continue with its expansion strategy overseas, largely through acquisition.