Nusret gained fame after he became a popular internet meme called ‘Salt Bae’ that went viral at the beginning of 2017.
According to Turkish media reports, the owner of the luxury Nusr-Et steakhouse restaurant is in talks to sell a stake in the company to Qatar’s $450 billion wealth fund.
D.ream Group, which is owned by Turkish billionaire Ferit Sahenk’s Dogus Holding AS, may sell a 20% stake to the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) for $300 million, Bloomberg reported, confirming the Turkish media’s earlier claims.
The price allegedly implies a $1.5 billion company valuation.
The talks were first reported on Tuesday by Turkey’s Sozcu newspaper.
Dogus confirmed to Bloomberg that it is in talks with the QIA about the sale, but declined to elaborate.
Temasek and Metric Capital Partners, both based in London, bought a 17% stake in the company for $200 million in 2018, valuing it at $1.18 billion.
Nusret Gokce, the man behind the Salt Bae meme, founded the restaurant. Gokce now has 15 restaurants across Turkey, the United States, and the Middle East. His latest branch opened in London, where steaks priced at £630 ($857) recently made headlines.
Dogus has been attempting to raise cash and fulfil bank promises as part of a debt restructuring.
The QIA signed billion-dollar investment deals for the Turkish economy at the end of 2020, including the purchase of a luxury mall and a large chunk of the Borsa Istanbul stock exchange.
Among the investments, Qatar purchased a 10% stake in the Borsa Istanbul from Turkey Wealth Fund, which owned more than 90% of the total shares.
Doha also paid $1 billion for a 42% stake in Istanbul’s Istinye Park shopping mall from Turkey’s Dogus Holding, which owns the remaining 58 percent.
Turkey and Qatar are close allies, with a history of joint military operations in Somalia and Libya, as well as a united front against Doha’s Gulf neighbours. In the emirate, Ankara has a large military base.
Salt Bae was a popular internet meme that exploded in popularity at the start of 2017.
Gokce is the man behind the meme. A video of him lovingly preparing an Ottoman steak, which was posted on January 7 2017, became an internet sensation.
His unusual meat videos quickly became viral memes, with viewers particularly enjoying his flamboyant way of sprinkling a handful of salt crystals at the end of the video.
He rose to fame after cooking for celebrities such as David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio, and DJ Khaled.