Al Jazeera sports arm in talks for Turkey's Digiturk – sources

The news herebelow is published by Reuters.

(Reuters) – An affiliate of Qatari-based television network Al Jazeera is in advanced negotiations to buy Turkish satellite network Digiturk, three sources familiar with the talks said on Tuesday, a deal that would further boost its soccer offering.

BeIN Media Group, which runs the beIN sports network of channels operating in Asia, Europe and the United States, has yet to finalise the acquisition, said the people, who declined to be identified as the information is not yet public.

“The negotiations are at an advanced level with beIN. They may be finalised in the next couple of weeks,” said one of the sources. Another source said beIN was negotiating to buy all of Digiturk.

Digiturk, which has broadcasting rights for Turkey’s top soccer league until the end of the 2016-2017 season, is 53 percent owned by Turkey’s Cukurova Holding and 47 percent owned by U.S. private equity group Providence Equity Partners.

Cukurova, the cash-strapped company controlled by Turkish businessman Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, had its Digiturk stake seized in 2013 by Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) because of its debts to the state agency.

No one was immediately available to comment at beIN, Cukurova or Providence. The TMSF declined to comment. (Additional reporting by Umit Bektas in ANKARA, Birsen Altayli in ISTANBUL and David French in DUBAI; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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