Setanta Africa under threat as parent company looks set to go into administration


According to Reuters on 8 June, the board of Irish sports broadcaster Setanta was due to meet on Monday, a person familiar with the situation said, following media reports the group was close to going into administration. The viability of Setanta's business model was thrown into doubt in February this year when it failed to hold on to the rights to show its desired number of English Premier League soccer matches, a key draw for viewers.

Setanta currently holds the rights to show two English Premier League packages, or 46 live matches a season, but it lost out in the auction for the next three-year deal to BSkyB (BSY.L) and will in future show only 23 games per season against BSkyB's 115. The failure to win the rights prompted Setanta to conduct a review of its business and attempt to renegotiate rights payments with a range of sporting bodies.

According to media reports, Setanta missed a 3 million pound ($4.77 million) payment to the Scottish Premier League last week and is facing the prospect of calling in an administrator after it failed to secure more money from its backers. Media reports said Deloitte had been lined up. Setanta declined to comment.

Setanta, which also shows cricket and PGA Golf, has around 1.2 million customers but needs nearer 1.9 million to break even, according to analysts. The group is a privately backed company whose shareholders include its management team and institutional investors such as Balderton Capital, Doughty Hanson and Goldman Sachs. At present Setanta's customer service phone line is out of order and the subscribe option on their website is not available.

Setanta Africa, a subsidiary of Setanta runs a network of free-to-air channels across the continent based on Setanta’s football and sports content.