Qatar said to buy Turkish pay-TV giant for $820m

Nasser Al Khelaifi believed to secure rights to top Turkish football broadcaster - reports
Qatar said to buy Turkish pay-TV giant for $820m
Nasser Al Khelaifi, the chairman and CEO of beIN Media Group. (AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Tue 23 Dec 2014 01:29 PM

A prominent Qatari businessman has agreed to pay $820 million for a 53 percent of Turkish pay-TV giant Digiturk, according to reports in Turkey.

Nasser Al Khelaifi, the chairman and CEO of beIN Media Group, which runs beIN Sports, is believed to have bought the stake from Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, a state entity that took control of the provider after its previous owner, Cukurova Holding, failed to meet its debt obligations.

Digiturk has the exclusive rights to broadcast Turkey’s top football competition, the Super Lig. If completed, the deal will extend beIN Sports’ coverage to a country where former parent firm Al Jazeera is steadily building up its presence.

Turkish-language channel Al Jazeera Turk secured a digital licence in April 2013, while Al Jazeera launched a new website in the country in the first quarter of this year.

Al Khelaifi is also the CEO of Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), the sovereign wealth fund that led the takeover of French football club Paris St Germain in 2011.

beIN Media Group was spun off from the Al Jazeera Media Network in 2013, and beIN Sports began broadcasting at the beginning of this year. It provides coverage in 24 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as other countries including France, the US, Canada and Australia.

It has invested heavily in securing the rights to broadcast some of the world’s top sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

Al Jazeera has similarly been expanding abroad; it recently launched a channel in America after buying Current TV from former US vice president Al Gore, and has also opened a network in the Balkans.

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