Media Mammoths Circle Setanta Sports

18 February 2008

DUBLIN: Following bouquets of red roses thrown by would-be Romeos, Irish broadcaster Setanta Sports last week let it be known it would consider all serious offers.

Founded in 1992, Setanta owns and operates subscription sports TV channels in the UK, Ireland, Luxembourg, USA, Canada and Australia.

It claims over three million subscribers to its channels and is hyped as Europe's fastest growing pay-TV operator.

Denying sale rumours, joint founders/ceos Leonard Ryan and Michael O'Rourke  told staff: "There is frequently speculation of this sort regarding Setanta … but we have not put the company up for sale.

"If we receive offers we will look at them – our adviser and shareholder Goldman Sachs will act for us in this regard – and we will let you know of any significant developments if and when they occur."

Informed "sources" say that five or more UK and US telecommunications, media and financial groups – among them BT, ITV and Walt Disney's ESPN – have ogled Setanta over candle-lit champagne dinners in recent months.

None, however, were willing to comment on their alleged romancings. 

Setanta – which outbid BSkyB to break its monopoly on English Premier League soccer rights – is predicted to break even this year with revenues of about €500 million ($733.7m; £374.1m).

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff