Setanta Sports is moving a step closer to extinction after a specialist group was called in to oversee a fire-sale of the collapsed Irish broadcaster's channels, although it expects to raise only £1m – just third of their true value.
Setanta appointed Deloitte to wind up its UK operations last month after it was unable to repay its debts. This week, Deloitte has called in Canis Media, a channel broker and consultant on buying and selling slots on BSkyB, to sell off nine of Setanta's electronic programme guide (EPG) slots, covering the Setanta News, Setanta Golf, Racing World and the Celtic and Rangers channels. The EPG is the Sky television menu screen that allows viewers to navigate its hundreds of channels. The spare channel positions are highly sought-after because memory constraints have in the past forced Sky to limit the EPG on many of its set-top boxes.
Deloitte said yesterday it was making "steady progress" in selling Setanta assets. However, the Canis chief executive, Ed Hall, said that in the current climate the channels would fetch as little as a third of their actual value. He added: "The problem is this is a fire-sale, with nine channels coming on to the market at once. The prices will be driven down from oversupply and because time is short."
He predicted they would sell for between £500,000 and £1m, but warned that the clock was ticking for rival broadcasters because the channels will be removed 30 days after Setanta stopped broadcasting.