Gulf Capital, a leading growth markets alternative investment firm, has announced that it has successfully completed the sale of its 70% stake in Turknet Iletisim Hizmetleri (Turknet), the leading alternative internet service provider in Turkey, to a consortium of buyers including the incumbent Celebiler Family and Re-Pie Portfoy Yonetimi (Re-pie).
The sale generated a significant return for Gulf Capital Credit Opportunities Fund which focused on providing growth capital to companies in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.
The investment in Turknet builds on Gulf Capital’s strong track record in investing in technology companies and in those that provide next-generation digital connectivity, said the company in a statement.
Turknet, led by Cem Celebiler, is a pioneer in the alternative Internet Service Providers (ISP) sector in Turkey and has spearheaded numerous developments in the Turkish broadband sector.
During Gulf Capital’s ownership, Turknet increased its subscriber base by over 200% and its ebitda by over 150% in USD terms, which collectively generated an industry leading return on Turknet’s invested capital.
With a seat on the board and an active involvement in formulating the company’s strategy, Gulf Capital played a significant role in Turknet’s growth journey.
It was instrumental in implementing best-in-class corporate governance practices and in assisting in the overall growth strategy of the Company. Gulf Capital’s support also helped roll out a hyper-fast broadband network in Turkey and to dramatically increase the subscriber base.
On the strategic sale, CEO Dr Karim El Solh said: "Our investment in Turknet was part of Gulf Capital’s strategy to back talented management teams that lead promising companies in high growth sectors, especially those that support the global digitalisation trend. Gulf Capital has been one of the most active investors in the technology, broadband connectivity and fintech sectors."
Turknet is a good example of a high-quality technology company whose growth trajectory has accelerated, especially post pandemic, he stated.
"After a seven-year holding period, we believe it is the right time for us to exit and realise value for our investors, while at the same time paving the way for the company’s next-stage growth. We believe the Celebiler Family will continue shaping the Turkish broadband space by pioneering new developments and achieving tremendous growth in Turknet’s subscriber base and we wish them all the success on their next phase of growth," he added.
Turknet CEO Cem Celebiler said: "Working closely with Gulf Capital over the past seven years provided us with a valuable support in strategic and financial decision making. This acquisition will bring the Celebiler Family into a majority position in Turknet, reflecting our strong confidence in the future of the Company and the growth opportunities presented by the Turkish broadband space."
"We are thankful for the unwavering support of Gulf Capital and their significant contributions to the success of Turknet over the last seven years. The next chapter of our growth journey will be with Re-pie, the largest Turkey-based alternative fund manager, he added.
Gulf Capital Managing Director Omar Rifai said Cem and the management team have successfully led the growth in Turknet’s market share and brand equity by focusing strongly on execution and customer service.
"We are excited for the Celebiler Family as it continues to lead Turknet into its next phase of growth. Gulf Capital’s investment in Turknet is a good example of how structured equity and mezzanine investments can support entrepreneurs in emerging markets in their growth journey," he added.