eir Acquires Setanta Sports Ireland Including BT Sport’s Irish Rights

Transformational purchase for company as it enters television content market

(Monday, 7th December, 2015) eir, Ireland’s largest telecommunications company, has purchased Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Ltd, the international sports broadcaster, also based in Ireland, for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction allows eir to significantly expand its TV offering and further enhance the range of propositions on offer to customers. Setanta Sports Ireland offers a compelling range of exclusive sports content in the Republic of Ireland including Live Barclays Premier League Games, every UEFA Champions League game and exclusive Europa League games, FA Cup, exclusive European Rugby Champions Cup games, all Formula 1 races, live Allianz Leagues GAA games plus English Aviva Premiership Rugby, Irish Schools Rugby, Moto GP, UFC, NBA, NHL and The Masters. BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe and BT Sport ESPN are also available as part of the Setanta Sports Pack in the Republic of Ireland.

Richard Moat, CEO of eir, said, "This is an extremely exciting and very important first step for us in television content ownership. We will now offer our customers the widest range and highest calibre of sports content in Ireland. Buying Setanta Sports Ireland is a game changer for eir and is our largest acquisition since we purchased Meteor in 2005."

Jon Florsheim, Managing Director of eir Consumer, commented, "Our customers, and the rest of the Irish viewing public, have a real appetite for high quality TV and particularly live sports programming. By acquiring Setanta Sports Ireland we have moved into the content space and we are hugely excited at the possibilities this presents. We are confident the eir brand together with our great value bundles will now appeal to even more households."

Michael O’Rourke, CEO Setanta Sports Ireland, said, "Today marks a significant milestone for Setanta Sports Ireland. This is really positive news for our customers, our colleagues and our business. eir’s scale and reach presents us with the opportunity to grow our sports offering in Ireland. Since the launch of our Irish business in 2004 we have worked hard to build a business that ensures Irish sports fans can access the widest possible choice of Irish and International sport. This agreement will ensure growing investment in Irish sport. I’m delighted for the team at Setanta and the investors who have shown so much commitment over the years. I have no doubt the business will grow even further in the future."

The deal will require the approval of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission together with the approval of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources before completion. Those processes will commence with formal notifications in the coming weeks.

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

Today is the latest announcement in range of milestones for the company which include:

  • Recent financial results posted revenue of €325 million, representing 4% year on year growth and the second consecutive quarter of revenue growth along with EBITDA of €120 million, the third consecutive quarter of EBITDA growth
  • The launch of eir vision Go - the new on the go TV service that enables eir vision customers to stream up to 50 TV channels at no extra cost. Now customers need never miss breaking news, selected sports programmes or many of their favourite programmes when they’re out and about in the Republic of Ireland
  • A fibre footprint that currently reaches 1.3 million premises past and will grow to 1.9 million by 2020.
  • Ireland’s fastest broadband of 1,000Mb/s using fibre to the home (FTTH) technology now on offer to 28,000 premises enabled across Cavan, Castlebar, Carrigaline, Drogheda, Douglas, Ennis, Greystones, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Naas, Sligo, Sandyford, Tralee, Wexford and Belcarra
  • The launch (November 2015) of Ireland’s first round the clock technical support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for broadband and TV technical support launched last month (November 2015). This service – unique to Ireland – means that customers wishing to speak to a customer care agent can do so at any time, day or night
  • HD Voice rollout - mobile customers can make HD Voice calls in crystal clear quality without background noise. Customers within the eir and Meteor networks will now experience high definition call quality at no extra cost.

About eir

eir is the principal provider of fixed-line and mobile telecommunications services in Ireland with approximately 2.3 million customers. The company has the most extensive fixed and mobile network in Ireland and provides a comprehensive range of advanced voice, data, broadband, TV and ICT services to the residential, small business, enterprise and public sector markets. The wholesale division, Open eir, is the largest wholesale provider in Ireland with more than 40 operators using our network. In 2013, eir was the first operator to launch 4G services in Ireland

In the most recently published full year results, eir generated turnover of €1.265 billion, €481 million EBITDA before storm costs and approximately 3,300 full time equivalent employees.

The cornerstone of the company’s current €2.5 billion strategic investment programme is the construction of Ireland’s largest fibre broadband network that will reach 1.9 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020 using FTTC and FTTH technologies.

About Setanta

Setanta Sports is Ireland’s leading premium sports broadcaster. Setanta was originally founded in 1992 to bring Irish Sport to fans around the world and has since grown rapidly to have operations around the world. The Setanta Ireland channel commenced broadcasting in August 2004 initially on the cable platform in Ireland. Since then the footprint has expanded and Setanta is widely available across Sky, Virgin Media and eir. Setanta is also available on Satellite in Northern Ireland.

Setanta customers receive 6 channels – Setanta Ireland, Setanta Sports 1, BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe and BT Sport ESPN. These six channels of great sporting content include Barclays Premier League Football, FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League, top flight European football from Germany, Italy and France, League of Ireland, European Rugby Champions Cup, Aviva Premiership Rugby, UFC, Formula One, Allianz Leagues GAA and much more.

For media queries, please contact:

 

Paul Bradley

eir

Director of Corporate Affairs

Tel: 01 600 4281

Mob: 085 174 4281

Paul_bradley@eir.ie

 

Nikki Gordon

eir

Head of Communications

Tel: (01) 600 5284

Mob: (087) 7985759

nikki.gordon@eir.ie

 

Brian Bell

WHPR

Managing Director

Tel: 01 669 0030

Mob: 087 2436130

brian.bell@ogilvy.com

 

Chris Barrie

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Executive Director

Tel: +44 20 7638 9571

Mob: +44 7968 727 289

chris.barrie@citigatedr.co.uk

 

For investor relations queries, please contact:

 

Tadhg Mangan

eir

Head of Investor Relations

Mob: 085 174 6953

tmangan@eir.ie

 

For more information on today’s announcement, please visit our Investor Relations site:

https://www.eir.ie/investorrelations/

 

07 December 2015