UPDATED: Pressure mounts on Setanta as Premier League sets Friday deadline

Setanta Sports

It's reported that Setanta owes £35m to the Premier League, which has agreed to allow Setanta to pay the money in tranches. Last Friday Setanta paid the first instalment of £10m and another £10m has to be paid by this Friday, June 19th, if the company wants to avoid falling into administration.

The Premier League says that if Setanta comes up with the cash by Friday all bids for the TV rights will be off; if not, the rights will be sold to the highest bidder next Monday.

UPDATE 15/06/09 12.00: Latest reports suggest Endemol, the company behind Big Brother, is in talks to take a stake of up to 49% in Setanta. The offer is understood to be subject to other investors also coming on board, but the amount the company is proposing to pay for the stake is not known.

FIRST POSTED 12/06/09 US investor Len Blavatnik is offering £20m for a 51 per cent stake in troubled Irish TV broadcaster Setanta, according to the BBC.

Access Industries, a private company owned by Mr Blavatnik, said it had submitted a proposal to the Setanta board but gave no further details.

In a statement Access Industries said: "The Access proposal is subject to a number of preconditions being met. Access believes that this proposal would secure the future of the broadcaster for customers, football and employees."

Mr Blavatnik, who is also involved with Top-up TV on Freeview, made the bulk of his fortune from heavy industry. He emigrated to the US from the former Soviet Union in 1978 when he was 21, and has an estimated fortune of $11bn, according to Forbes magazine.

The Setanta board is meeting today, June 12th, and hopes a deal could be finalised in the next 72 hours.

The sports broadcaster is seeking an extra £50m in funding to avoid going into administration, and on Wednesday the company stopped taking on new customers as it struggled to secure its future.

It had been thought Disney-owned sports network ESPN might buy Setanta, but yesterday ESPN denied the speculation, and BSkyB also said it had no interest in bailing out the strugglng broadcaster.