Tuesday 16 July 2019

Premier Sports has near-€7m valuation after investment

Irish broadcaster owned by Setanta Sports co-founder Michael O'Rourke sells shares to UK production firm

Lionel Messi and team-mates from Argentina at a training session at Manoel Barradas Stadium in Salvador, Brazil, ahead of the Copa America tournament, to which Premier Sports has broadcasting rights. Photo: Gustavo Ortiz/AFP
Lionel Messi and team-mates from Argentina at a training session at Manoel Barradas Stadium in Salvador, Brazil, ahead of the Copa America tournament, to which Premier Sports has broadcasting rights. Photo: Gustavo Ortiz/AFP
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

MICKEY O'Rourke's Premier Sports - which will begin showing Premier League matches from August over Virgin and Sky - has received an investment from a UK firm that values his business at almost €7m.

The Setanta Sports co-founder established Premier Media Broadcasting, which trades as Premier Sports, in 2010.

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Last year, it secured rights to broadcast 53 live Premier League matches every season for three years beginning with the upcoming season.

Premier Sports costs just under £10 a month over Sky or Virgin services in the UK.

It broadcasts events such as Pro14 rugby, GAA games, matches from Italy's Serie A and ice hockey matches from the United States.

The Dublin-based company is majority owned by an entity called Setanta Sports Broadcasting, which is in turn owned by Danu Capital Partners. Danu Capital Partners, now known as TDL Broadcasting, is wholly owned by Mr O'Rourke.

He is also a shareholder in Danu Investment Partners, whose other shareholders include fellow Setanta Sports co-founder Leonard Ryan, as well as Mark O'Meara.

Mr O'Rourke sold Setanta Sports to Eir in 2015 for an estimated €20m and no longer has any connection with that business.

The investment made in Premier Media Broadcasting has been made by British firm Handymain.

It has injected £748,000 (€840,000) in the Irish company. Handymain is controlled by Rob Pickles. He also owns KOTV Productions, a company that produces boxing shows.

Handymain has acquired 1,785 ordinary shares in Premier Media Broadcasting. There were previously 12,500 shares in issue.

Based on the €840,000 investment by the UK firm, the valuation placed on Premier Media Broadcasting is just under £6m, or €6.7m.

Neither Mr O'Rourke nor Mr Pickles was contactable at the time of going to press.

The match package acquired last year by Premier Sports includes the right to broadcast 33 live Saturday afternoon games in Ireland.

Those matches are not shown in the UK, but have been broadcast in Ireland by Sky.

Premier Sports also acquired the rights for to show another package of 20 Premier League matches, which are shown on one bank holiday weekend.

Sky Sports and BT paid a total of almost £4.5bn (€5bn) for five of seven match packages last year that were sold by Premier League.

Premier Sports also has the rights to broadcast the Copa America tournament, which kicked off last night with a match between the host country, Brazil, and Bolivia.

Irish Independent

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