According to a report in today’s Irish Times, talks between the two parties are at an advanced stage and are set to conclude in early 2016. Industry sources estimate that the two stations that make up Setanta could be worth as much as €20m.
As the race towards “quad-play” – landline, broadband, mobile and TV services – continues in the telecommunications industry across Europe, many observers see eir as the leader in the Irish market, given its large customer base. However, many expect Virgin Media, which now owns UPC, to up the ante over the coming months given that its parent company Liberty Global is already heavily involved in a number of quad-play businesses around the world already. In addition, it also owns TV3 which it recently acquired for €87m. Liberty also owns a 9.9% stake in ITV which is currently in the process of acquiring UTV’s TV business.
As more consumers opt to view live TV on their mobile hand-sets and tablet devices, telecommunications companies have been falling over themselves to offer TV bundles as part of the package while at the same time splashing out millions on acquiring TV rights for live sporting events. BT Sport is a case in point and the fact that Setanta has a deal in place with the UK-based channel to bundle its offering with Setanta’s will be a major factor.