Sky saves Setanta Ireland for a week

Wednesday, July 1 2009, 12:52 BST

By Andrew Laughlin

Sky has decided to continue carrying Setanta Ireland for one week while negotiations go ahead to save the sports broadcaster in the country.
According to the Irish Times, the satellite platform holder has extended the carriage deal so that the company's founders can talk to concert promoter Denis Desmond and other parties about rescuing the operation.

After Setanta's existing carriage agreement with Sky came to a close yesterday, negotiations have been underway to put together a short-term broadcasting deal in Ireland.
Setanta is believed to owe Sky around 4.7 million in unpaid carriage charges, which mostly derives from its UK operation after it went into administration last week.

It is understood that the satellite company has decided not to hold Setanta Ireland to the total arrears owed to it by parent firm Setanta Sport Holdings, which is currently in the hands of administrators Deloitte.

Instead, the satcaster has agreed to a staggered payment structure to cover the arrears specifically relating to carriage in Ireland so that Setanta can continue to operate in the country.

Setanta founders Leonard Ryan and Michael O'Rourke are now locked in negotiations to save the business with Desmond and former Setanta executive Mark O'Meara.

The discussions reportedly include talks with Irish venture capital groups, as well as US cable TV parent group Liberty Global.