Turkish lenders hire Morgan Stanley for Turk Telekom stake sale

Three Turkish banks said on Thursday that they had appointed Morgan Stanley as financial adviser to sell their 55 percent stake of Turkey’s largest phone company Turk Telekom, Reuters reported

Garanti BBVA, İş Bankası, and Akbank took control of Turk Telekom in December via a special purpose vehicle called Levent Yapılandırma Yönetimi that was set up to resolve Turkey’s biggest-ever debt default. Oger Telecom of Saudi Arabia, which previously owned the shares, owed $4.75 billion to the creditors. 

“Morgan Stanley...has been mandated as financial adviser for (the) sale of Levent Yapılandırma Yönetimi or its 55% stake in Turk Telekom,” Reuters quoted the banks as saying in separate identical statements.

The banks said the required steps for the process and sale negotiations with potential buyers would begin.

Oger borrowed the money back in 2013 to refinance the acquisition of Turk Telekom stakes, purchased in 2005 with then-partner Telecom Italia. The sale of Turk Telekom was a key part of a privatisation program conducted by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government.

Some companies in Turkey have been struggling to repay their foreign currency debts after the lira lost almost a third of its value against the dollar in 2018, spurring an economic recession and forcing banks to restructure some of the debt.