Setanta: Dentons restructures while Olswang renegotiates

Denton Wilde Sapte and Olswang have won roles advising troubled sports broadcaster Setanta as it attempts to renegotiate broadcast rights and restructure its business.

The company is reported to be in the midst of a major restructuring programme to raise £100m, and has called on Dentons head of restructuring and insolvency Mark Andrews.

Setanta is also trying to reduce or delay payments to the Premier League, the Football Association (FA) and the Scottish Premier League (SPL) over broadcasting rights, and has instructed Olswang to deal with the negotiations.

Olswang sports partner David Zeffman represented Setanta when it originally secured the deal to air live sport in 2007.

DLA Piper sports partner Nicholas West and restructuring partner Michael Fiddy are advising the Premier League, with which Setanta has a £392m three-year deal. It is understood that the Premier League has insisted that the latest payment is made on time and in full.

Setanta also has a £150m four-year deal with the FA to show English international and FA Cup games.

The FA is being represented by Bird & Bird. Sports partner Justin Walkey is the FA’s regular adviser on TV rights matters.

Scottish firm Harper Macleod is understood to be acting for the SPL, which has a £125m four-year deal with Setanta.

Litigation partner Rod McKenzie leads the relationship with the SPL.

Setanta currently shows 46 Premier League games a season, but as of 2010 this number will be reduced to 23, leading to fears about the broadcaster’s future.

The company, which is privately owned and registered in Luxembourg, has denied there is any risk of it defaulting on its payments.

Setanta’s problems first emerged in March, when it was revealed that the company was late with a £10m payment to the FA.