2/25/2008

WSJ: Turkish markets open up for private-equity funds

The Wall Street Journal: Turkey is opening up as an important market for private-equity funds, even as the credit crunch slows the buyout market elsewhere. Turkey’s privatization program and the disposal of noncore assets by domestic conglomerates are creating opportunities for equity funds. The country, which has about 72 million people, is a fast-growing consumer economy. Some of the world’s biggest equity funds are getting involved, even though Turkey’s interest rate, now at 15.25 percent, makes financing deals difficult. The funds are seeking out companies that generate lots of cash, to help them pay down the high levels of debt they take on to get the deals through. Buyout shops getting into the act include TPG, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Cinven Group Ltd. and Blackstone Group. The private-equity arms of Citigroup Inc. and BC Partners last week bought a majority stake in Turkey’s largest food retailer Migros Turk from Koc Holding AS in a deal valuing the company at around $3.2 billion.

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