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News Corp in talks for Turkish media firm -source

Written by: Staff
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ISTANBUL, May 10 (Reuters) U S-based media corporation News Corp, run by media giant Rupert Murdoch, is in acquisition talks with the owners of Turkish broadcaster TGRT, an investment banking source said today.

''They are in talks with several groups including TGRT,'' the source said. Asked whether a deal would be completed in the first half of the year, he said: ''Given the regulatory systems in Turkey ... no one could guarantee it would be.'' Ihlas Holding, which owns news and entertainment broadcaster TGRT has said it is in negotiations with a U S-based group over a sale but has not given any other details.

Turkish law only allows foreigners to own minority stakes in media companies, as a law aiming to allow full foreign ownership was scrapped last year.

The source said a deal would likely be for a stake of around 25 percent.

No-one at News Corp, whose businesses include 20th Century Fox film studios, Fox News channel and tabloid newspapers in the United States and Britain, was available to comment.

A deal would follow other emerging market ventures for News Corp, which is already present in the Turkish outdoor advertising market.

Earlier this month Georgia's Imedi Holding said it had signed a preliminary agreement for the sale of a stake in its TV company, which a source at the company said was News Corp.

That followed an announcement last month its Serbian joint venture Fox Televizija had been awarded a national television licence.

Turkey, which started European Union entry talks last year, attracted 9.7 billion dollars of foreign direct investment last year and the government expects to top that in 2006.

With economic growth targeted at 5 percent and increasing consumer confidence, advertising is a fast-growing market and last year Canada's leading media group CanWest bought into the Turkish market.

Turkish media giant Dogan Yayin Holding said last month its ad sales grew 22 per cent in 2005 and in the first quarter of this year that accelerated to 33 percent.

REUTERS SY KN1721

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