Blackstone appoints Turkish business luminary

Kemal Kaya, a leading figure in the Turkish banking world, has joined Blackstone, as buyout firms descend on the region.

The Blackstone Group, the listed global investment firm, has appointed Kemal Kaya as a senior adviser.

Kemal Kaya:
led Turkey's
biggest bank

Kaya will principally advise Blackstone on transactions in the region.

Before joining Blackstone Kaya was chief executive of Yapi Kredi, a Turkish financial group. He led the acquisition of Yapi Kredi for Koç Financial Services, a financial company owned by Koç Holding, the Turkish conglomerate, in partnership with Unicredit, the European bank. To date this is the largest merger in the Turkish banking sector, where there has been a spate of consolidation in recent years.

Before the merger of the two banks, Kaya was a general manager of Koç bank, the retail side of Koç Financial Services, and chief executive of Koç Financial Services. Kaya helped set up the strategic partnership between Unicredit and Koç, which has been in place since 2002. Before joining Koç he held senior positions in financial institutions and investor relations management at Yapi Kredi.

Turkey has attracted some of the world’s leading buyout firms in recent years. BC Partners led a consortium acquisition of Migros Türk, the Turkish supermarket, for YTL3.9 billion ($3.25 billion; €2.2 billion) from Koç, in February this year. The deal was fully funded by Turkish banks, while their larger global competitors continued to eschew lending to mega buyouts because of the credit crunch.

Blackstone also staged a bid for Migros alongside Agrokor, the Croatian trade buyer, although the BC Partners consortium won the auction. Blackstone has yet to make its first acquisition in Turkey.