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.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.