The past six months has watched the rumor go around that Doğan Online is for sale. Although we initially heard that only Hürriyet.com.tr was switching hands, the GDOL event signified that something bigger is in motion.
Do you remember GDOL (Generation Do It Onliners) a few months back? Leaders of the field like Brian Solis took the stage under a suffocating 20-minute time constraint that killed all the important topics. In an event where the host M. Serdar Kuzuloğlu’s pants were talked about more than the event itself, over 450 invitees and 138 customers (Biletix confirms 124 student tickets, and 14 tickets over the full price) got the chance to observe a package.
This package included top sites of Doğan Online like Milliyet.com.tr and Hürriyet.com.tr, a media buying firm called Medyanet, and several other online businesses. The missing link was, as everyone openly voiced, a conference, which was taking place. It is also widely known that Doğan Online has been seeing some private equities.
One of the speakers at GDOL was Arkady Volozh, the CEO of Yandex.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not privy to any leaks. It is a good time, though, to speculate a bit.
Yandex and Doğan Online have been flirting in public for a while now. The CEO of Yandex speaks at the GDOL, Hürriyet.com.tr breaks the news of Yandex, Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ is appointed as the chairman of Yandex Turkey… These raise a few question marks.
I don’t know if there’s enough data to assess the situation, but if someone is going on a wild goose chase, I want to start it.
Even if Yandex is not going to buy Doğan Online, Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ’s transfer is very surprising—and, once the dust settles down, very strategic. We recall from Volozh’s interviews that Yandex takes Turkey very seriously, and although my colleague Bahadır Atasoy wrote a piece titled “Does a Search Engine Mogul a Media Buyer Make?”, I am of the belief that this will be a fruitful partnership.