Turkish Billionaire Sahenk Is Said to Hold Asset-Sale Talks

(Bloomberg) -- Turkish billionaire Ferit Sahenk is in talks with investors to sell assets including entertainment and restaurant businesses and may strike deals over coming weeks, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Sahenk’s Dogus Holding AS may sell either a stake or some of the operations of Dogus Restaurant Entertainment and Management, or D.ream, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. The goal is to simplify the sprawling investment firm and reduce debt, two people said.

Singapore state investment companies Temasek Holdings Pte. and GIC Pte. are among those considering buying a stake in D.ream, which has a valuation of close to $1.5 billion, the Financial Times said on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The investment would include close to $200 million of equity, it said.

Dogus Holding doesn’t trade publicly. Its car distributor company, Dogus Otomotiv Servis ve Ticaret AS, gained as much as 6 percent, the most since Nov. 8, and was up 1.7 percent at 8.37 liras as of 4:28 p.m. in Istanbul. The other listed unit, real estate company Dogus Gayrimenkul Yatirim Ortakligi AS, climbed as much as 4.7 percent.

Restaurants, Marinas

Sahenk, once Turkey’s richest man, spent heavily on buying restaurants, marinas and hotels after selling his stake in Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS to Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA. The company’s liabilities stood at 26.1 billion liras ($6.8 billion) at the end of June. Losses at Dogus widened to 1.48 billion liras in the first half from 276 million liras a year earlier, according to data posted on its website.

One of Dogus’s biggest investments is the $1.5 billion development of Galataport, a cruise port and a compound of shopping malls on the Bosporus in central Istanbul. 

Assets up for sale include a stake in Istinye Park, a high-end shopping mall on Istanbul’s European side, said two of the people. Dogus has a 42 percent stake in the mall’s operator, while the builder, Orjin Group, holds the rest. A sale may value the mall at around $1 billion, two of the people said.

Dogus Holding declined to comment. Calls and emails to Sahenk weren’t answered. A spokeswoman for GIC and a spokesman for Temasek also declined to comment.

Dogus is working with international advisers to carve out some of the restaurants under D.ream into a separate unit ahead of an initial public offering in London next year, people familiar with the plans said on Jan. 18. That plan is still going ahead, one of the people said this week. The spin-off would include the franchise of Japanese restaurant Zuma and the Nusr-Et steakhouse.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.