Further set-back for Setanta

Two major investors in Irish-based pay-TV sports broadcaster Setanta have written off the value of their investment stakes in the broadcaster. Doughty Hanson, which owns about 20% of Setanta and investment bankers Goldman Sachs (5% stake) have reportedly written down their stakes to zero valuations.

Setanta is said to be reviewing its business strategy following the English (soccer) Premiership awarding 5 out of a possible 6 bundles of TV soccer rights to BSkyB, leaving Setanta with just 50% of the already meagre cluster of matches it currently transmits. The new rights package kicks in with the 2010-11 season.

London newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported that Setanta is reviewing its assets and options, which include possibly reducing its existing coverage of boxing and rugby.

While the two investors might only be making prudent accounting provision for their Setanta valuations, it does not mean that Setanta has zero value. However, raising more cash to acquire other rights might now be even more difficult with positive sentiment ebbing away.