Eir hopes to acquire Setanta Sports


The country’s largest telecoms group, Eir is in advanced discussions to acquire Setanta Sports, the Dublin-based pay television broadcaster.

It is reported in The Irish Times that talks are at an advanced stage and that a deal is likely to be completed in 2016.

It’s understood Setanta founder, Mickey O’ Rourke will stay with the business for a period after the deal is concluded.

Setanta operates two sports channels here and has a high-tech production facility in Dublin's city centre. It also offers two BT sports channels as part of its package.

The move by Eir, is part of a trend where telecommunications and cable companies are increasingly television distribution and production companies within their stable.

John Malone’s giant communications group, Liberty Global recently acquired TV3 through its Virgin Media subsidiary which also owns the cable network formerly known as UPC.

Malone also owns a share of ITV, which has just purchased the television assets of UTV, including UTV Ireland.

If the deal is successful, it should strengthen Eir's digital portfolio if the company attempts to list on the stock exchange - or if the current owners hope to sell the company.

Eir abandoned plans for a €3bn flotation last year - it is expected to look at this option again in the future.

Setanta could gain new financial clout to secure sports rights to enhance its offerings.

Back to top