Irish promoter and serial entrepreneur Denis Desmond says reports that he’s heading a consortium trying to take over Setanta Sports Ireland aren’t strictly accurate, although effectively he’s already done it by doubling his shareholding to 60 percent.
A report in Financial Times said he had teamed with two of the station’s founders and senior management, although Desmond says it’s true that it’s two of the founders who own the other 30 percent-plus block of shares.
His move comes at a time when the Dublin-based TV broadcaster, originally formed in 1990 to screen Irish sporting events to expats living in such regions as the U.S., Canada, Africa and Australia, is having a tough time.
It was only one of two Setanta companies not forced into administration June 23 after parent company Setanta Sports S.a.r.l. lost euro 173 million ($246 million) in a year and Setanta UK couldn’t make its TV rights payments to the English and Scottish Premier Leagues.
Desmond stresses he has no involvement in any of the Setanta companies that have been placed in administration and his stake in the Irish company is through Gaiety Investments, which partners with Live Nation in holding a stake in Academy Music Group and Festival Republic.
Desmond admits some cost savings needed to be made but is confident the station will prosper and isn’t in danger of following its namesakes into financial collapse.