LONDON — Pay TV broadcaster Setanta Sports has raised Euros 315 million ($415 million) to fund a major expansion of its U.K. services, led by the launch of its live Premier League soccer coverage next August.
Setanta is set to challenge the U.K. monopoly of British Sky Broadcasting over premium soccer, having won the rights to screen a third of the top games over the next three seasons in the Premier League auction last May.
But having bid $764 million for the rights, it then had to go out and raise the finance to pay for them.
It has now signed financing agreements with Doughty Hanson & Co, Goldman Sachs Intl., Davy Stockbrokers and Adams Street Partners. The financing was arranged by Goldman Sachs.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory clearance in Ireland where Setanta is based, is in the form of equity and preferred securities.
Overall control of Setanta will not change, but Doughty Hanson joins the company’s existing backer Benchmark Capital as the largest institutional shareholders.
Doughty Hanson previously acquired Ireland’s leading commercial broadcaster TV3 in August.
“Not only have we secured top-flight sports content, but we are now fully funded to realize our ambitions to be the premier sports channel in the U.K. across all platforms,” said Leonard Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Setanta.
Doughty Hanson topper Steven Bone commented, “Our significant investment will support the forecast growth of Setanta, while also being an important step in developing the value of TV3.”
“With significant financial resources, the company will continue to grow and build its pay-TV sports channel in the U.K. and Ireland,” said Ynon Kreiz, general partner at Benchmark.