No rescue deal yet as Setanta turns away customers

Desperate search for new backers as time runs out to save broadcaster

Setanta Sports moved closer to administration yesterday, after the beleaguered broadcaster officially stopped signing up new subscribers, with still no rescue package on the table.

The company even took the extreme step of paying staff at two-week rather than monthly intervals, "to reassure" them as uncertainty grew.

One Setanta insider said the issue was "clearly not yet fixed" but stressed it had not fallen into administration. Rumours of a potential rescue bid from the group's founders have intensified, but there were no official updates last night. The source added that Setanta was waiting on developments from "parties external to the company".

On Tuesday night the subscription service on Setanta's website went down as fears for the company grew. It prompted the company to post an "important customer message" yesterday.

The message read: "In the current circumstances, we have decided to suspend temporarily the acceptance of new subscriptions."

Yet the group underlined it had not gone into administration and was broadcasting as usual. "Setanta Sports management is in the process of attempting to secure the future of the business," the message added.

Setanta's board was locked in emergency talks on Monday. Founders Mickey O'Rourke and Leonard Ryan are attempting a rescue bid, while insiders said there were other options on the table.

Yet time is running out, after the group missed a £3m payment to the Scottish Premier League last week, with a payment to the football body's English counterpart imminent.

It emerged this week that rival BSkyB was not prepared to accept Setanta's pre-condition of a £50m upfront payment for wholesale deal. Jeremy Darroch, Sky's chief executive, told a sports industry breakfast this week that while he did not want to see Setanta fold "our job is not to fund other companies. This is a huge amount of money".

Accountancy and consultancy group Deloitte are overseeing a restructuring programme at Setanta. The group is expected to step in should the company be put into administration.

Yesterday, BT Vision, the telecoms group's pay-TV service, said it was "closely monitoring" the parlous situation at Setanta and had halted offering the service to new customers.

BT said: "We are in constant dialogue with Setanta, and all other relevant parties to ensure we provide the best possible outcome for BT Vision customers." The group sells Setanta as a standalone deal to its customers, and also throws the channels into its premium television packages.

Virgin Media, which offers Setanta free to customers of its top package, said it was monitoring the situation. This comes just a day after Dan Marks, the chief executive of BT Vision which has about 430,000 customers, surprised the market as he quit the group. Mr Marks is understood to be frustrated that the regulator has not tackled Sky's domination of Premiership football.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee