Deloitte ends Setanta's run

ACCOUNTANCY firm Deloitte was called in yesterday afternoon to act as administrator of Setanta Sport, ending weeks of speculation over the future of the Irish pay-TV broadcaster.<br /><br />&ldquo;After a huge effort by the Setanta board, management team and its backers, it has not been possible to save the Great Britain (GB) business, which will be wound down in due course,&rdquo; said Deloitte partner Neville Kahn, adding that the channel would cease to air within hours.<br /><br />Kahn said that Setanta&rsquo;s International and Ireland businesses are not in administration and that he is speaking to a number of parties interested in buying the businesses.<br /><br />He expects to make an announcement regarding the sales within days.<br /><br />But last night shareholders were faced with the prospect of seeing their investments wiped out, while creditors questions how much, if any, of their money could be recouped.<br /><br />Setanta is known to have &pound;300m in secured debts but that figure will climb as claims from commercial parties and counterparties are filed.<br /><br />The Irish company said yesterday afternoon that it had to let go 200 of its 420 staff, mostly those employed in relation to the GB business. <br /><br />Setanta founders Michael O&rsquo;Rourke and Leonard Ryan had worked for weeks to secure the investment needed for the broadcaster&rsquo;s survival after it ran out of money to pay for crucial Premier League football rights.<br /><br />But the Football Association is now left hunting new rights deals for FA Cup and England matches valued at &pound;100m.<br /><br />NEVILLE KAHN<br />DELOITTE<br />Neville Kahn is a Deloitte partner and global reorganisation services leader. He specialises in corporate restructuring and insolvency and has acted as lead insolvency practitioner on a number of complex administrations and receiverships. Recent clients included Woolworths and Waterford Wedgwood and his specialisms include telcoms, retail, and technology. He has worked in this sector for the past 20 years, and has been a Delloite partner for over 13 years.