Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 09:56 UK

Endemol to discuss Setanta stake

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English Premier League TV rights are crucial to Setanta

Dutch media giant Endemol, the maker of hit show Big Brother, is in talks to take a substantial stake in ailing Irish sports broadcaster Setanta.

Endemol is believed to be interested in taking a stake of up to 49% in the company, along with other investors.

It is not clear how much Endemol would pay for such a stake.

Setanta has not met subscriber targets, and has lost some broadcast rights for English Premier League games, to whom it must make a £30m payment on Monday.

The instalment is the latest tranche of cash due in Setanta's £392m, three-year contract with the league.

The Premier League would not comment on the deadline, but said that it hoped to make an announcement later on Monday.

On Friday Access Industries, controlled by Russian American Len Blavatnik, tabled a £20m bid for a 51% share in Setanta.

He and other investors are now carrying out intense "due diligence" (examination of Setanta's books) which should be completed by 19 June.

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Setanta, which has rights to broadcast English Premier League football as well as the Scottish Premier League and Guinness premiership rugby, suspended taking new subscriptions last Wednesday after a major downturn in the economy led to a shortfall in customers.

It only gained one of the six English premiership TV packages from 2010, and has missed payments to both the FA and the Scottish FA.

Setanta has 1.3m UK subscribers, which is short of a target of 1.9m at which it is said to break even but ahead of the number achieved by Sky in its first two years in business.

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