ESPN to Acquire NASN

ESPN has agreed to acquire NASN, a European channel dedicated to North American sports, from Setanta Sport Holdings Ltd. and Benchmark Capital Europe. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

NASN airs over 800 live and "as-live" North American sporting events in Europe each year. These include over 200 live games from the National Hockey League, 60 live National Football League games in certain markets, and 250 live Major League Baseball games. Subscribers can also view college basketball action and the NCAA Basketball Tournament. ESPN's future plans include bringing ESPN branding to the network.

"This acquisition will allow us to accelerate our European television business which has grown rapidly since the launch of ESPN Classic in 2002," said Lynne Frank, managing director of ESPN, Europe, Middle East and Africa. "NASN is a great fit for our company and we will continue to build on its success and appeal across some of the most vibrant multichannel markets in the world."

Setanta was a launch investor in NASN in October 2002 along with Vulcan European Media. In June 2005, Vulcan sold the company to Setanta, which then sold a 50 percent interest to Benchmark Capital Europe, a venture capital firm. The channel today reaches over 6 million households in 26 European countries.

The deal is expected to close early next year and is subject to regulatory approvals.