Mergers and acquisition (M&A) deals in Turkey reached a six-year high in 2018, hitting more than TL 30.1 billion ($5.54 billion), according to Turkish Competition Authority (RK) Chairman Ömer Torlak.
A total of 223 mergers and acquisitions were completed by the competition authority last year, Torlak said at an information meeting on the "2018 Merger and Acquisition Outlook Report," Wednesday.
While 85 of the transactions took place in Turkey, all the parties in 38 transactions were Turkish; all parties in three transactions were foreign and in 44 cases the transactions involved Turkish and foreign companies.
The M&A deals among Turkish companies totaled TL 10.6 billion. On the other hand, deals between Turkish and foreign parties amounted to approximately TL 19 billion. Evaluating foreign direct investments in Turkish companies, Torlak said that Italian investors topped the list on the basis of the transaction, followed by investors from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg. In terms of transaction volume, on the other hand, Danish and Chinese investors led the way. In the transactions carried out in Turkey - except privatization - the largest number of transactions was made in the field of electricity, gas, steam and ventilation system production and distribution.
In his speech, Torlak said the unfavorable economic developments experienced in the last five months of last year had limited impact on transactions between Turkish firms and the interest of foreign capital in the Turkish economy.
GOOGLE INVESTIGATION TO BE
COMPLETED BY LATE 2019, EARLY 2020
Replying to a question on the competition investigation into Google, Torlak said they are conducting an investigation into the abuse of its dominant status in the search engine and advertising market.
Turkey's competition authority said Monday that an investigation was launched into Google's advertisement services.
The investigation covers the global giant's Turkish branch Google Reklamcılık ve Pazarlama Ltd. Şti., as well as Google International LLC, Google LLC, Google Ireland Limited and Alphabet Inc.
The preliminary investigation on the allegations of Google's abuse of dominant positions against businesses through algorithm updates on general web search services and Adwords advertisements has been concluded and an investigation was launched as the findings were deemed serious and adequate, the RK said. The watchdog previously fined Google TL 93 million in September for violating competition laws with its mobile software sales, giving the company six months to make the necessary changes in order to "ensure effective competition in the market and end the violation."
The company was also fined $84 million by the Finance Ministry in May 2017 on the grounds that it issued invoices for its advertising sales over Ireland and caused tax losses to Turkey. Torlak pointed out that this is a comprehensive and time-consuming issue that also requires overseas monitoring, and that such investigations are completed in an average of 14 months, while the Google investigation is expected to be completed by late 2019 or early 2020.
He stressed the algorithm is a very important tool for protecting personal data. "They can also use it as a violation of competition in terms of the digital cartel. With the Google case, we will be working on this issue tangibly," he said.