News Corp. buys majority of TGRT

News Corp. has agreed to buy 56.5 percent of Turkish Huzur Radyo TV (TGRT) from Ihlas Yayin Holding for 127.2 million lira ($82 million), Ihlas Holding said in a statement on Monday.

The accord was the latest in a series of emerging market deals for R. Murdoch's News Corp., whose businesses include the 20th Century Fox film studios, Fox News channel and newspapers in the United States and Britain.

Ihlas said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange it would no longer hold a stake in the company after the completion of this sale.

Nationwide television channel TGRT went on the air in 1993 and was one of the first private TV channels in the country.

Under the deal, the purchasers will only use the TGRT logo temporarily and Ihlas will remain owners of the TGRT brand.

Ihlas had said in May it was in negotiations with a U.S.-based group over the broadcaster, but had declined to comment since, although sources close to the parties said earlier this month a deal was in the final stages.

News Corp. is already present in the Turkish outdoor advertising market.

Last month Polish newspapers reported News Corp. had bought a roughly 25 percent stake in small Polish broadcaster TV Puls and in May, 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 with News Corp.

Turkey, which started European Union entry talks last year, attracted $9.7 billion of foreign direct investment in 2005, and the government has said it expects to top that in 2006.

Ankara expects economic growth of 5 percent this year despite financial market volatility which has seen the lira lose as much as a quarter of its value against the dollar.

Canada's leading media group, CanWest, recently bought into Turkish radio stations.