The owner of Demirören Holding, Turkey’s biggest media empire, is in talks to restructure about $2 billion in loans, sources familiar with the talks said, more than previously reported as the focus has expanded to debt used to finance its acquisitions of media, lottery and energy assets.
The sources, who requested anonymity, told Reuters the talks could expand further to cover even more debt, taking into account interest.
Demirören Holding did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the restructuring talks.
Backed by Ziraat Bank, the country's biggest lender, Demirören in 2018 paid $916 million for Hürriyet newspaper, broadcaster CNN Türk and other assets from Doğan Holding.
Reuters has previously reported that Demirören was in discussions to restructure up to $1.4 billion in loans.
It is in talks with Ziraat Bank to restructure $800 million, the amount of debt it took on to finance purchases in the media sector, three banking sources said.
Demirören also has interests in real estate, energy, betting and the lottery business.
The rest of the debt – around $1.2 billion to acquire lottery services and energy ventures – is being negotiated with eight or nine banks, including state lenders, the sources said.
One of the sources said the holding company “has difficulty making money from its core businesses and this makes the restructuring difficult.”
Among the restructuring options under consideration are extending terms, adding a balloon payment, a “hair cut,” or switching debt from dollars to Turkish lira, a second banking source said.
A balloon payment could possibly bring about an asset sale but “nothing is clear yet,” this person added.
Demirören Group, established by 79-year old Erdoğan Demirören, is active in the energy, mining, manufacturing, tourism and real estate sectors. Demirören's older son Yıldırım Demirören is the former president of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) and was the former chairman of Istanbul giants Beşiktaş.
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