Eir in talks to acquire TV broadcaster Setanta Sports

20 Nov 2015

The move to acquire Setanta would be quite a coup for Eir which would add content and revenue to its Eir Vision TV service

Telecoms operator Eir is understood to be in talks with Setanta Sports with a view to acquiring the Dublin-based pay-TV broadcaster.

According to reports, talks are at an advanced stage, with a deal likely to be completed in 2016.

Setanta co-founder and majority shareholder Mickey O’Rourke will remain with the business until a deal is completed, according to The Irish Times.

Setanta operates two sports channels in Ireland and has just signed a multi-year extension to its current deal with BT Sports.

A new goal for Eir

The move would be something of a coup for Eir, which has just returned to profitability after a decade of financial ups and downs and which is currently the leading quad-play provider of TV, broadband, mobile and telephony services in Ireland.

Eir operates its own TV service Eir Vision that competes with Sky and Virgin Media. Last week, Eir launched its own on-the-go TV app called Eir Vision Go, which is designed to compete with Sky’s rival app Sky Go.

Acquiring Setanta would bolster Eir’s content offering and potentially open it up to a new lucrative stream of revenue from sports-mad subscribers.

The move would be consistent with changes to the TV and telecoms marketplace as Ireland exits recession.

In July, Virgin Media’s parent company Liberty Global acquired TV3 for €87m.

TV sports image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years